Cases of teenage pregnancies are on the rise at the coastal town of Mombasa, Emily Mwaringa, the County Reproductive Health Coordinator has warned.
Last year, about 3,000 cases of children below the ages of 18 were recorded at the county government-owned facilities in Mombasa.
Thousands of other cases might have gone undocumented.
Speaking in Mombasa Mwaringa said it is disheartening to see children as young as ten years impregnated.
“Teenage pregnancy is on the increase. There are so many reasons that would actually lead to this, one being the poverty index that we have in Mombasa. Last year, we had 3,000 children below 18 years who were pregnant,” said Mwaringa.
She said upsurge of teen pregnancies is making majority of them drop out of school.
“Some even get married, children as young as 16 years are already married and those are actually minors, they are not supposed to be wives,” she said.
The danger of teenage girls bearing children is that those kids end up being stunted, said DSW Programs Manager, George Ouma.
In Mombasa County, the rate of stunted children stands at 34 per cent, which is higher than that of national level that stands at 26 per cent.
Stunting is reduced growth rate in human development, which is primary manifestation of malnutrition in early childhood or even before birth, due to malnutrition during fetal development brought on by a malnourished mother, according to experts.
Teenage girls getting pregnant lack adequate knowledge on how to raise young ones, and due to poor feeding practices, poor maternal nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding and poor sanitation where they stay, kids may end up being stunted, said Ouma.
He said there is need to engage the policy makers at the county level, who are the MCAs, to make sure that they allocate funds on family planning programmes and nutrition.
“No one would like to see a child is stunted, no one would like to have children who do not perform well in school and no one would like to see children who are underweight. Our main message is to actually request MCAs, to work with us towards investing in nutrition and family planning,” said Ouma.