Covid-19 Spiked Teenage Pregnancies in Elgeyo Marakwet – Governor Tolgos

There was a surge in teenage pregnancies when schools closed during the Covid-19 pandemic period in Elgeyo Marakwet County.

This, according to Governor Alex Tolgos, was an indicator of unsafe sex that not only leads to early pregnancies but also puts the girls at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and even cancer of the cervix owing to HPV (human papillomavirus) infection.

The current teenage pregnancy rate hit a level high of 26.7 percent compared to 8.4 percent in 2013.

Speaking during this year’s World Aids Day marked at Cheptongei center in Marakwet West Sub County, Tolgos said the worrying trend had shown a parenting challenge in the region.

This year’s theme is, stop teenage pregnancy towards the elimination of HIV/AIDS.

He said: “The current pregnancy rates among our teenage girls are not appealing at all and it calls for an urgent mitigation measure.”

Besides the dreams of young girls being cut, he added, it also exposes a poor parenting upbringing as evidenced by a rising number of pregnancies during the period when parents were with their children at home. 

The county boss urged parents to spend more time with their children especially the girls and provide them with critical needs which will cushion them against sourcing from other people who may take advantage of them.  

According to the National Aids Control Council, currently, 277 women aged between 14 and 24 years contract HIV weekly nationally.

The department of health, according to Tolgos, will start conducting community dialogue days, sensitize and empower the community on the prevention of HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancies and provide sanitary pads among other interventions.

Elgeyo Marakwet County’s current HIV prevalence stands at 2.1 percent with an estimated 6336 people living with the virus.

Prof. Sylvester Kimaiyo from AMPATH commended the county government for its approach to tackling HIV/AIDS menace.

County Commissioner Dr. Ahmed Omar who was also present during the function said his office will work together with the county government to ensure that teenage pregnancies come to an end.

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