Further to my statement yesterday, I urge President Uhuru Kenyatta to set up a special task force to study and make recommendations on how to deal with this alarming national pandemic of teenage pregnancies and the use of drugs among our young citizens.
I’m also calling to our religious bodies to engage the government and the public in pragmatic discussions, and more open and honest engagements over this issue. While our religious leaders have guided the society so well through prayers, I believe, we will need more programs to reinforce the spiritual interventions.
As the National statistics show, 152,820 teenage girls have so far become pregnant this year, with Nairobi, Kakamega and HomaBay counties leading. My county of Machakos is also doing badly at number 15 nationally.
Hand in hand, we also need to address the issues of drug abuse among our teenagers. Kenya is a huge market for the consumption of illicit drugs and alcohol among young people. We have to enhance our war against drug cartels and those exposing our children to drugs and other substances.
We also need to be alive to the fact that these statistics only tell us about those who were unfortunate to get pregnant. There are many more who are sexually active at that young age who didn’t get pregnant hence were not captured. This should worry all of us.
It is even more appalling because to get pregnant, it means one had unprotected sex hence exposure to HIV/ AIDS and other STD’s.
While it is true that some girls are impregnated by adults, we also have to accept the reality that many are impregnated by their fellow teenage boys. All around us we see many boys and girls (machali na madem) in relationships, and statistics are now telling us that many of these relationships are not platonic.
As part of our reproductive health programmes, Machakos County has set up Youth Friendly clinics, which many young people are currently taking advantage of.
We need proper education, and all Machakos schools will set a program to educate our children on abstinence and safe sex. This is because many of them are children between the ages of 10 and 15, an age at which parents struggle with talking to their children on this issue.
To pragmatically, take action, I have today decided to constitute a Machakos task force to study the issue of teenage pregnancies and related problems and make appropriate remedial recommendations.
I am also directing that all girls who are pregnant and the boys who made them pregnant undergo counseling and to be provided with social protections and allowed to resume school with no victimization.
Let us all join hands in protecting our children.