Cases Of Teen Pregnancy Rise In Kenya Amid Pandemic

Linet, 16, who is in about 3 months pregnant talks about her unexpected pregnancy as schools are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, during an AFP interview at her sister's home in Raila slum, next to Kibera slum, in Nairobi, on July 15, 2020.  Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP
Linet, 16, who is in about 3 months pregnant talks about her unexpected pregnancy as schools are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, during an AFP interview at her sister’s home in Raila slum, next to Kibera slum, in Nairobi, on July 15, 2020. Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP

 

Sixteen-year-old Linnet covers her face bashfully, mumbling into her hands as she recounts how she met the young man who bought her fries and gave her money, before leaving her pregnant and facing even greater poverty than before.

She is one of thousands of teenagers who fall pregnant every year in Kenya, a problem experts fear is worsening during the coronavirus pandemic, with some girls pushed into transactional sex to survive while others have more sex as they stay home from school.

Shortly before the pandemic hit Kenya in March, Linnet’s farmer parents in western Busia sent her to Nairobi to find a job as they could no longer afford her school fees.

She moved in with her sister, her sister’s husband — the sole breadwinner — and their two small children in a tiny corrugated-iron room in the Kibera slum.

Food was scarce and the advances of the 22-year-old boda-boda (motorbike taxi) rider, and the luxuries he offered, were hard to resist.

“He would buy me some fries, shoes and also give me some money,” said Linnet, her dress of brightly-coloured flowers stretched tight against her four-month pregnant belly.

She said she had asked him to wear a condom, but he had removed it during intercourse. He has demanded she terminate the pregnancy, and the romance has dissipated.

“I am too young to be pregnant and now I am going to be a mother to a kid,” she said.

“A child needs porridge, milk, money. I feel bad.”

‘The tip of the iceberg’

Kenya has long grappled with high teen pregnancy rates.

However numbers had fallen from 82 pregnancies per 1,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 in 2016, to 71 per 1,000 in 2017, according to Save the Children.

Last month, figures from a leaked health ministry document showing thousands of girls had fallen pregnant during lockdown between March and May led to fierce debate on social media.

Linet (L), 16, who is in about 3 months pregnant helps to wash cloths after an interview for AFP with her sister Carol, 22, about Linet's unexpected pregnancy as schools are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, at her sister's home in Raila slum, next to Kibera slum, in Nairobi, on July 15, 2020.  Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP
Linet (L), 16, who is in about 3 months pregnant helps to wash cloths after an interview for AFP with her sister Carol, 22, about Linet’s unexpected pregnancy as schools are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, at her sister’s home in Raila slum, next to Kibera slum, in Nairobi, on July 15, 2020. Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP

 

In Nairobi alone almost 5,000 girls fell pregnant, just over 500 of them between the ages of 10 and 14, according to the figures from a data unit within the ministry.

Both President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe have mentioned the rise in teen pregnancies during addresses to the nation.

“Teenage motherhood is a catastrophic, disempowering outcome in the life of a girl. More often than not it spells doom to the teenager’s attainment of life’s full potential,” Kagwe said last month.

Evelyne Opondo, senior Africa regional director at the Centre for Reproductive Rights, said evidence of an uptick in pregnancies directly linked to the pandemic was still “anecdotal”.

However she believed the numbers are merely “the tip of the iceberg” as most girls do not seek proper ante-natal care.

She said teen pregnancies were likely increasing during the pandemic because girls were idle at home, or “engaging in relationships for survival”.

Some children get free lunches or free sanitary towels at schools, which will remain closed until at least 2021.

Being home also places an added burden on parents who may have lost their jobs.

“So the young girls will turn to men who will be providing them with pocket money, money for pads,” Opondo said.

“We have seen this even before the virus so you can imagine how much worse it must be.”

Oriema Otieno, a 30-year-old doctor in Embakasi on the outskirts of Nairobi, says he has seen more pregnant girls than usual at his clinic, which is run by a reproductive health NGO.

“Normally with schools open and teens in school we see two in every three months. Now there has been a rise, about seven to eight in one month in this community.”

No sex education

According to Opondo, one of the main drivers of teen pregnancy is ignorance.

“We know that in Kenya there is no comprehensive sexuality education… a lot of girls lack information on how to prevent unintended pregnancies,” she said.

. Linet is one of thousands of teenagers who fall pregnant every year in Kenya,
Linet is one of thousands of teenagers who fall pregnant every year in Kenya,

 

Implementing comprehensive sexuality education in Kenya is a persistent challenge, drawing fierce pushback from religious institutions and conservative groups.

A 2017 analysis by the Guttmacher Institute found that, while various policies exist to provide sexual education in Kenya, topics are limited and do not include information on contraception.

It noted that “messages conveyed to students were reportedly fear-inducing and judgemental or focused on abstinence, emphasising that sex is dangerous and immoral for young people.”

Meanwhile, the topic is taboo at home.

“Let us not lie to ourselves, our kids are having sex,” said Ritah Anindo, 22, a youth advocate for the NGO Reproductive Health Network Kenya.

“Now children are at home, they are not studying. Rich kids, probably they are having online classes but kids in (poor communities), what are they doing?” Anindo said.

“Our kids are idle so what do you expect at the end of it all? Teenage pregnancies, new HIV infections, unsafe abortion.”

For many girls like Linnet, hopes of ever returning to school will be fully dashed once they give birth.

“Most of them will not be able to go back to school… it requires a lot of support, financial support, emotional support,” Anindo said.

“We may have more teenage pregnancies than COVID cases and it is so sad.”

 

AFP

Eight Pregnant Women Rescued From Baby Factory In Ogun State

Imo-Baby-factoryEight pregnant ladies including teenage girls have been rescued by the Ogun State police command at an alleged baby making factory located at number 9 Sebanjo Crescent, off Fabolude Busstop, Akute area of Ifo local government of Ogun State.

The police also arrested a middle aged man and a 26 year old woman running the factory.

While parading the suspects at the Ajuwon Divisional Police Headquarters, the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Mr Ikemefuna Okoye, described the development as inhuman, insisting that the command would get to the root of the matter.

The suspects are expected to be transferred to the state criminal investigation department for through investigations.

The structure which housed the hostages appeared as residential building but the latest discovery by the police revealed that a baby making factory was domiciled in the house, where teenage girls were made to part with their babies after delivery and a token given.

The 26 year old woman, Angela Chigoeze, who claimed to be operating a divine herbal clinic, has been arrested as the one in charge of the illicit operation which sold babies for an alleged sum of 300,000 Naira (about 1,800 dollars).

“If they give birth, I will sell the child for 300,000. I sell it to women that cannot give birth,” she said.

The state’s Commissioner of Police said the arrest was made possible through information by some residents, adding that the police was on the trail of other accomplices.

Baby factory is gradually becoming a business in Nigeria, as there have been discovery of similar factories in the eastern part of Nigeria.

The discovery of a baby factory in Imo State in December 2013 led to the banning of all non-governmental organization operating under the platform of motherless babies’ home.

About 24 persons were also arrested in January at a Baby factory uncovered in Ilu-Titun, a town in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State by the Officers of the Nigeria Immigration Service in the state.

Meanwhile, four middle aged men have been gunned down and fatally wounded by the command in Sango area of the state while robbing  a Bureau De Change.

Items recovered from them included arms and ammunition and a Toyota Yaris vehicle with registration number EJ 440 ESD.

 

In December 2013, Police also uncovered a Baby Factory in Imo State.

 

Police Uncovers Another Baby Factory In Imo

The Imo state police command has arrested a 35 year old native of Umuoda Isingwu, Umuahia south in Abia state, Mrs. Rose Nwadinaobi, for allegedly running an illegal baby factory where pregnant teenagers are kept till day of delivery and their babies sold to interested buyers.

While parading the suspect and her accomplices at the police headquarters in Owerri, the state capital, the police commissioner, Mohammed Katsina, said the group was arrested during an ambush when a suspected buyer, Mrs Amaka Abuchukwu was on transit from Port Harcourt to Owerri, where she bought a day old baby.

Preliminary investigations by the Police revealed that the clinic she described as a herbal clinic was only an illegal baby factory and as at the time of arrest, 6 pregnant teenagers waiting to deliver were rescued.

A sum of N1.03 million, which was deposited by buyers, was also recovered from the woman.

Mrs Nwadinobi, the operator of the factory, initially claimed to be a certified herbal nurse who had over time treated women who are unable to conceive but while on interrogation confessed that her herbal treatment did not produce desired results in Mrs Abuchukwu and due to her desperation, a pregnant teenager was brought in to deliver and hand over a baby boy in exchange for N250,000.

The pregnant teenagers who were rescued from the herbal home disclosed that they all conceived outside the home but individually approached the operator after they were directed by friends and were promised the sum of N50,000 if they willingly surrender their babies after delivery.

Investigations also revealed that the operator of the factory, who resides in Port Harcourt, has a chain of clients all over the country. The Police Commissioner disclosed that further investigations will be carried out on the matter.

Population Commission Campaigns Against Teenage Pregnancy

The National Population Commission has increased its efforts in curbing the rate of teenage pregnancy in Nigeria.

According to a Federal Commissioner representing Plateau state at the National Population Commission, Cecilia Dapoet, the root causes of the trend include poverty, sexual abuse, ignorance as well as cultural and religious beliefs.

She added that cases of teenage pregnancy have been on the increase in the country.

“Teenage pregnancy not only imposes severe health and psychological strains on the baby and teen mothers but also have long term negative impacts on sustainable development efforts,” she said.

As part of the activities to commemorate the 2013 World Population Day themed, “adolescent pregnancy”, the commission organised a press briefing, round table discussion, road float to help raise awareness.

Majority of adolescent births occur in low and middle income countries and more likely among poor, less educated and rural population.

Imo Baby Factory: Pregnant Teenagers Held Hostage Till Delivery

The police have discovered that the pseudo motherless babies home located in Umuaka community of Imo State had held pregnant teenage  girls hostage until they delivered their babies, with some of them allegedly bringing the pregnancy from their homes.

Initial reports of the fake orphanage claimed that a young man who was arrested with the girls was employed to get them pregnant.


The building in which the teenage girls were held was fenced with barb wires and the face of the walls had been embedded with broken bottles to prevent any attempt of escape by the pregnant teenagers.

One of the victims who spoke to Channels Television revealed that all the occupants of the home were already pregnant before they were taken into the home.

However, the victims were barred from leaving the premises until their delivery.

She revealed that the girls had been told different lies and some had been told not to take any clothes on the journey from their homes hence they had no clothes to wear on getting into the orphanage.

She also claimed that some of the girls had been told they would be taken to rich homes where their comfort is guaranteed.

The girls were promised between N50-000 to N350,000 for a baby boy and N20,000 to N320,000 for a girl.

The traditional head of Umuaka community, HRH Aloysious Orjinnaka admitted that he had known Madam 1000 (the owner of the orphanage who is now on the run) who had told him that she had ‘relations with government’.

The traditional leader also claimed, she had said that her motherless babies’ home was recognised by the government.

He denied any knowledge of the illegal business of selling babies, which Madam 1000 was running in disguise.

The Police authority have since declared Madam 1000 wanted.

Police Uncovers Orphanage Where Teenage Girls Are Used To Breed Babies In Abia

The Abia state police command has apprehended a fake social worker; Ngozi Nkwonu, who under the pretense of operating an orphanage, runs a baby-making centre, where teenage girls are impregnated and the babies sold off.

Briefing journalists on the discovering, the Commissioner of Police in Abia state, Usman Tlli Abubakar disclosed that one Odinakachi Samuel from Ovurungwu Village, Isiala Ngwa South local government area, who delivered a baby girl connived with the nurse Monica Benjamin to sell her baby for N150,000.

Suspects who were arrested in relation to the case were accused of selling and trafficking babies at the cost of N450,000 while the teenage mothers were paid N10,000 for giving up their children.

The Police boss warned that the command would not tolerate any form of criminality in the state as its primary priority is sustained peace and security.