Teen pregnancy: Bomet girls to undergo medical tests
- Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok said teen pregnancy and FGM have negatively affected transition rates of girls from primary to secondary schools and colleges.
- County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding said head teachers and principals who hide cases of pregnancies will face disciplinary action.
In a bid to curb the alarming rate of teenage pregnancies in Bomet County, high school principals and head teachers have been directed to conduct medical tests on girls in their learning institutions.
County Commissioner Geoffrey Omoding said the girls should be subjected to pregnancy tests when schools reopen for the new term in January next year.
He spoke amid revelations that teenage pregnancies have hit an all-time high in the county, with more than 10,000 school girls being put in the family way every year.
“The high level of pregnancies reported in the county, which stands at 10,000 yearly, is too high by all standards. There is need to subject the girls to pregnancy tests and get to know those responsible so that legal action can be taken against the suspects,” Mr Omoding said in an interview with Saturday Nation on Friday.
He said those suspected to have sexually preyed on the girls will be subjected to DNA tests and arraigned in court to answer for their misdeeds.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has also been reported to be high in the county, with more than 50 suspects arraigned in court while hundreds of others have escaped police dragnets.
Newly married women and young mothers account for a large percentage of the cases.
The vices, Bomet Governor Hillary Barchok and Mr Omoding said, have negatively affected transition rates of girls from primary to secondary schools and colleges.
Dr Barchok said cases of defilement and rape had reached an alarming rate, while domestic violence incidents were also on the rise.
“We cannot afford to sit back and watch as girls are forced to drop out of school as a result of sexual predators who are walking freely,” the governor said.
Drug and substance abuse has been cited as the main cause of gender-based violence (GBV) cases in the devolved unit.
Mr Omoding said boda-boda riders form the highest number of suspects who sexually prey on girls in the county.
“We are cracking the whip on the culprits with a view to turning the tide, as the girl child must be protected,” Omoding said.
He added that the high rate of pregnancies had thrust the girls into motherhood when they were not physically and psychologically prepared.
Speaking on Thursday after the celebrations, Mr Omoding said the young mothers must be given the opportunity to pursue their education after giving birth.
The commissioner said head teachers and principals who hide cases of pregnancies will face disciplinary action.
“Sadly, cases of pregnancies among school going children are only made public at the end of the year during the national examinations period, yet in reality thousands of others drop out in the early part of the year,” he said.
Cases of girls being married off at the expense of education, he said, were rampant, and that several suspects having been prosecuted.
Cases of defilement and rape have also been on the rise. To change this, the county, national government and non-state actors will join hands to ensure the war is won.
In the last one month, more than 50 young women have been arrested for undergoing FGM. To abet the vice, newly married women are subjected to FGM.
Nyamira County Commissioner Amos Mariba said this week that all defilers will be prosecuted, citing an example of a ward rep who was arrested for defiling a child.
“Those parents who have a tendency of negotiating with these defilers should stop,” he warned.