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Alarm over teenage pregnancies in Mombasa

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[DAYO CEO Seif Jira. Photo/courtesy].

As covid-19 pandemic bites in, health stakeholders have raised fears over looming health crisis in Mombasa county.

They said the pandemic is negatively impacting the delivery of sexual and reproductive healthcare to the youthful generation in Mombasa.

Mombasa county Gender based Violence and adolescent healthcare program coordinator Celina Kithinji says fears of contracting Covid -19 has forced the larger Mombasa population to shun health centers where they can get reproductive health services.

Kithinji says youth are the most at risk owing to the extension of schools holidays, adding this could spur teenage pregnancies amongst school going children.

Crisis

“We are staring at a crisis because the larger population, the youth is not able to access reproductive health services due to the virus, this is dangerous especially in the informal settlements,” said Kithinji.

In a bid to cushion the youth from the menace, the county government has collaborated with Dream Achievers Youth Organization (DAYO), on their project dubbed reducing teenage pregnancy at the Ziwa la Ng’ombe slums to sensitize the public on the need to access the services.

“Our program has been progressing, however Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to halt all our community services,” Said the organisations’ CEO Mr. Seif Jira.

Jira says lack of sexual reproductive education among the youth has become HIV and early pregnancies catalyst in Mombasa.

He called on key players to join the efforts so as to tame the vice even during this Covid-19 season.

“Majority of the youth cannot access sexual reproductive health services at our health centers that is why we are using the media and other social platforms platforms like Facebook to reach them,” said Jira.

The figures

Mombasa County latest data shows that cases of teenage pregnancy rose to 10.2 percent in March this year, from 5.2 per cent the previous month and a total of 5.3 per cent recorded in January this year.

In 2019, the county recorded a total of 12 percent in January, 13.1 percent in February, with a drop of 7.9 percent in March.

The officials also asked the government to urgently protect women and girls against violence during this crisis.

The restrictions imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to make it harder for survivors to report abuse and seek help and for service providers to respond efficiently.