Kakamega Governor’s wife Janet Barasa has decried the high number of teenage pregnancies in the county, while appealing to men to support the fight against the menace.
Mrs. Barasa said teenage pregnancies and child marriages are becoming disastrous to the county, hence men and boys who are the perpetrators have a critical role to play in combating them.
The governor’s spouse made the appeal at Kivaywa Primary school in Matete Sub County, where she launched the county’s one week malezi bora campaign designed to reach out to children who have not received vitamin A supplements.
“We have over 13,000 teen mothers in the county. This is not encouraging at all. We want our female children to go to school and get children at the right time and not when they are in primary or secondary school.
I want to bring the men on board to fight the menace. You are the parents, you are the boyfriends and you are the ones impregnating the young girls. Kindly can you come out and help me battle teenage pregnancies,” she appealed.
Barasa called on to parents to advise their children against indulging in early sexual encounters, which she said derails them socially, besides exposing them to risks of sexually transmitted diseases and early pregnancies.
She reminded parents that most of their young girls are being impregnated over very small things like sanitary pads.
“Once a child is not given a sanitary towel at home, she will be forced to look for it out there, hence ending up getting pregnant,” she said.
On the issue of menstrual hygiene, Barasa said it is high time the community stopped stigmatising the young girls and women of reproductive age.
“Let us stop the menstrual hygiene stigma because that is just a biological function. When a young girl is menstruating that is an indicator that she is fertile and can get children. Do you have to stigmatize her?” she posed.
Barasa urged parents to be responsible and avail sanitary towels to their children, whenever they are menstruating to enable them go to school and guard against staining their uniforms and getting laughed at by fellow learners and some insensitive teachers.
She also asked the County’s health department to include sanitary towels in the next budget cycle so that female children can access sanitary pads to prevent them from dropping out of school and getting married at a tender age.
The governor’s spouse equally called on parents, teachers and leaders to come together and support the girl child in regards to menstrual hygiene, so that the county does not lose a future generation through early pregnancies resulting from lack of sanitary towels.
In January 2023, Barasa launched an initiative dubbed, ‘A Helping Hand to Teen Mothers in Kakamega County’, meant to rescue, support and reintegrate teen mothers back to school.
Under the initiative, teen mother champions were unveiled with their major role being to advise their fellow teenagers against early marriages and teenage pregnancies.
Source: Kenya News Agency