A total of 3, 964 girls aged 19 years and below were reported pregnant in the last four months, a new survey by government shows.
The survey also shows that Athi River is the most affected area while Kalama has the least number of reported pregnancies among girls of school-going age.
Machakos County Children Officer Salome Muthama said the reported pregnancy cases are less than the actual numbers.
According to a breakdown provided by Muthama, Masinga sub-county has 104 cases of pregnancies of children between the ages of 10-14 and another 601 cases for those in the 15-19 age bracket.
Athi River has seven pregnancies for minors aged 10-14 and 561 for those between 15-19; Machakos has 48 (ages 10-14) and 259 (ages 15-19); Yatta has 10 (ages 10-14) and 462 (ages 15-19).
The increase in unwanted pregnancies is partly linked to the coronavirus pandemic which has seen schools closed and carefree guardians.
Also, authorities have partly blamed parents and an effective justice system for the crisis.
“Most of these cases you will find involve children who were taken from urban centres in the wake of COVID-19 and left in the hands of their grandmothers in the countryside as the parents returned to the towns,” Muthama told reporters in Machakos Town.
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She further noted that teenage girls are exposed to sex pests since the grandparents are unable to monitor them closely.
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