Kenya

Rising cases of teen pregnancies in Meru worry leaders

Rising cases of teen pregnancies in Meru worry leaders

Meru Deputy Governor Titus Ntuchiu (right) presenting bursary cheque from Ripples International to a student on on July 28, 2021. On the left is Ripples International director Mercy Chidi Baidoo who decried rising teen pregnancies in Meru.

Photo credit: Charles Wanyoro | Nation Media Group

Government officials and children welfare workers in Meru have decried the surge in teenage pregnancies in the county, majority of which are perpetrated by relatives.

Meru Deputy Governor Titus Ntuchiu and Ripples International director Mercy Chidi Baidoo said 16,827 teenagers had become pregnant between January 2020 and February this year.

Speaking at the county offices where Ripples International gave out Sh15 million in bursary cheques to 200 vulnerable and orphaned students, Ms Chidi said most of the pregnant teens do not attend clinics.

Mr Ntuchiu said there is a need for the community to cultivate good morals and urged chiefs and their assistants to deal with the perpetrators to help end the vice.

“I do not know what has become of some people. We hear some of the perpetrators are fathers and uncles. These people are supposed to take care of the children but they are harming them. We have lost morals and it is ruining our society when people have sex with girls,” he said.

Mr Ntuchiu also encouraged students to resist sexual interactions, saying it will ruin their future.

Cases not reported

Ms Chidi said many cases of defilement are never reported since they are committed by relatives and there is always collusion to have the matters dealt with according to the law.

She said her organisation had rescued 92 girls who had been sexually abused and who were in need of care and protection after their families became hostile towards them for insisting on pursuing justice in defilement cases.

Ms Chidi cited an incident where a girl who was defiled by her father, who was later jailed for life, was being denied a chance to join a prestigious secondary school despite receiving full scholarship.

“She was sexually abused by her father and we assisted [that she pursues] justice and he was jailed for life but the mother is still very bitter about the incident and seems to blame the girl for the incarceration,” she said, adding that there are many cases which people seek to resolve out of court.

“Most of these cases are incest. The perpetrators are either father, grandfather or an uncle. But the majority of the culprits are fathers and grandfathers,” she said.


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