Murang’a County Executive Officer for Health Joseph Mbai has raised an alarm over increased teen pregnancies in the area.
Mbai has revealed that, in the month of June, two minors aged 10 and 12 were among girls who were reported pregnant in a pool of 365 cases. He says this figure was captured in health records from health facilities in the county.
He said the trend is worrying, and that the government needs to get back to the drawing board and come up with better strategies to curb the menace.
The County officer said while most of the defilement cases go unreported, the pregnancies become visible and compelling evidence of the heinous act.
Mbai further saying he has taken personal initiative to pursue these cases and have those who impregnate the minors prosecuted, but it has not been an easy task.
For the past two years, Mbai says he has faced 33 cases of prosecution and 17 of them have been concluded and culprits convicted.
According to Mbai one of those jailed happens to be a close relative who impregnated a minor but couldn’t let him escape the full arm of the law.
“Anyone who defiles a minor is a criminal and deserves to be punished,’’ Mbai said.
However, Mbai lamented that parents of the victims are a major hindrance towards fighting for justice for the defiled minors, pointing out how they engage in delightful accepting bribes from the culprits and opt to cover up the matter.
“It’s unfair and unlawful if a parent happens to engage in accepting bribes as little as Sh5,000 to compromise justice for their child who has been defiled and impregnated, ” Mbai remarked.
In other cases, Mbai said, the minors are forced into abortion which could bring a handful of health complications to them while the administration officers abetting to solve the cases out of court instead of going the legal way.
Mbai said the county is considering establishing a centre for teen mom’s where both the mothers and their babies can be taken care of until they are ready to mingle with society.
“At the centre, the teen mum’s shall be counselled and trained on how to take care of their newborn babies,” he added.
He also pointed out that most of the teenage mothers are not able to nurture their babies due to societal misconceptions which affect their growth and development.
”When young girls become mothers at such a tender age, they become social misfits and others are rejected at home,’’ he added.
Besides the disruption of the normal life for these teen mothers, Mbai said there is a high risk of being exposed to cervical cancer, pointing out that 40 per cent of the women who get cervical cancer are the ones exposed to sex before they are 18 years.
Early last year, 6,579 teen pregnancy cases were reported in the county during the holiday season and the long layoff due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The figures however have since been disputed by various government officers who claim the figures are not factual.