EXPLORING THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND INFORMATION DETERMINANTS OF TEENAGE PREGNANCY IN WEBUYE WEST SUB-COUNTY BUNGOMA COUNTY KENYA
Introduction:
Teenage pregnancy is a global social and health challenge owing to its diverse health andrndemographic consequences Mkwananzi 2016 WHO 2018. Adolescent pregnancies occurrnacross all socio-cultural and economic divides occurring across high- middle- and lowincome countries. Globally in 2018 approximately 21 million teenage girls presented withrnpregnancy: with 71 16 million presenting in the developing world UNFPA 2018. Of thern21 million adolescent girls who become pregnant 57 12 million of them were in therndeveloping world. An estimated 777000 girls aged below 15 give birth annually in developingrnregions and there are at least ten million 10 million unintended or unplanned pregnanciesrnreported UNFPA 2013. These pregnancies not only pose a health risk but they also pose arnsocial risk to adolescent girls concerning the discontinuation of their education and socialrnisolation within the communities they live in. The health impact of these unintendedrnpregnancies contributes to the rise in HIV incidence and prevalence among this age grouprnacross all economic divides UNAIDS 2021. Low socioeconomic status predisposesrnteenagers to sexual exploitation in a bid to meet their basic needs coupled with a low agencyrnto negotiate first sexual encounters and use of protection for safe sex UNAIDS 2021.rnTeenagers in low-income areas lack educational and employment opportunities Eastern Asiarnpresented the highest number of unplanned teenage births 95153 followed closely byrnWestern Africa 70423 with the least number occurring in Switzerland 4918 WHO 2016.rnThere are other factors leading to teenage pregnancy ranging from cultural pressure thatrnperpetuates retrogressive practices such as early marriages. The economic disparity contributesrngreatly to retrogressive cultural practices like early marriage 39 of girls in the leastrndeveloped countries are married before the age of 18 with 12 being married before the age of 15. Pregnancy is perceived as a social safety net or security in cases where teenagers lackrnopportunities and access to education and employment opportunities. In such settings earlyrnmarriage and motherhood are often viewed as the only viable option for teenagers to thrive andrnsurvive UNFPA 2018.rnLow levels of sexual reproductive health and rights information among teenagers contribute tornearly pregnancies even among teenagers who may wish to avoid getting pregnant. The lack ofrnadequate information and knowledge leaves these teenagers vulnerable to making poorlyrninformed choices regarding their sexuality. Access to contraceptives owing to healthcarernprovider biases also contributes to high levels of teenage pregnancies. Restrictive legal andrnpolicy framework across developing countries regarding the provision of contraceptives tornperceived underage and unmarried young girls largely contributes to the increase in teenagernpregnancy UNFPA 2018. Adolescence is a transitional age from childhood to adulthoodrnknown for the high rate of emotional and not rational decision-making by adolescents andrnteenagers. This is because young people in this transition phase lack sufficient agency andrnautonomy to make rational sound and positive decisions concerning their sexual andrnreproductive health. This lack of agency to make the right decisions and choices is a largerncontributor to the estimated ten million 10 million unintended pregnancies presented inrndeveloping regions. Sexual violence is a major contributing factor to teen pregnancy in Kenyarna third of girls one out of three reported that their first sexual encounter was not consensualrnrather it was coerced KNBS 2014. In addition one out of five girls reports being a survivorrnof sexual and other forms of gender-based violence statistics and facts that predispose teenagerngirls to early and unplanned pregnancies KNBS 2014.rnAcross the globe early pregnancies are accompanied by numerous health concerns mainlyrnmortality morbidity and poor health outcomes for children. Maternal mortality among teenage mothers aged between 15-49 presents astronomical figures accounting for 99 of maternalrndeaths. Other health complications faced by teenage mothers that often lead to their deathsrninclude eclampsia puerperal endometritis and systemic infections WHO 2016. Unsafernabortions related to unplanned pregnancies especially in the developing world where abortionrnlaws and regulations are stringent and do not offer free choice to teenage mothers contributernlargely to teenage maternal mortality with an estimated 3.9 million unsafe abortions reportedrnannually across the developing regions among young girls aged 15-19.rnWith the above context in mind the health and well-being of newborns as well as teenagernmothers cannot be overstated. Babies delivered by teenagers especially by mothers agedrnbelow the age of 20 face numerous challenges and complications including and not limitedrnto low birth weight and life-threatening neonatal health complications to mention but a few.rnIn cases where rapid repeat teen pregnancy is witnessed the long-term health risks for thernmothers and children have been documented to reinforce the risks of teenage pregnanciesrnUNFPA 2016. In the developing world social isolation of pregnant teenagers isrncommonplace in extreme cases pregnant teenagers are ostracised by society. These teens facernstigma discrimination and the impacts of rejection and violence meted on them by theirrnpartners parents and peers. Statistically teenage mothers are highly susceptible to sexual andrngender-based violence specifically intimate partner violence largely owing to their inabilityrnto negotiate for their sexual health and rights and well-being WHO 2016. Teenage pregnancyrnand childbearing lead to school drop-out even in countries like Kenya where the back-toschool policy for teenage mothers is institutionalise and social and economic constraints dornnot provide a conducive environment for these teenagers to continue their education. This fullyrnjeopardizes the girls future including their ability to secure meaningful employment and reachrntheir full potential NCPD 2021.
Objectives:
Overall ObjectivernTo access the determinants of teenage pregnancy in Webuye West Sub-County BungomarnCounty Kenya.rnSpecific Objectivesrni. To establish the socio-economic determinants of teenage pregnancy in Webuye WestrnSub-County.rnii. To examine the information determinants of teenage pregnancy in Webuye West SubCounty.rniii. To examine access to reproductive health and rights products and services in WebuyernWest Sub County.
Methodology:
This was a qualitative study on determinants of teenage pregnancy in Webuye West SubrnCounty Bungoma County Kenya.The study was guidedrnby the theory of reasoned action and data was obtained through in-depth interviews keyrninformant interviews and focus group discussions. The data collected was analysedrnthematically and results reflect verbatim quotes capturing and amplifying the voices of therninformants.
Findings:
Results:
The results reveal that peer pressure and the desire to fit in is a key determinantrnof teenage pregnancy in the study site. In some instances families are forced to marry off theirrngirls as a source of income through dowry payment. Poverty is a critical determinant of teenagernpregnancy where low purchasing power leaves girls vulnerable to sexual exploitation andrnabuse as they are unable to negotiate for safe sex leading to unintended pregnancies.
Conclusion:
Teenage pregnancy is a real socio-economic concern in Webuye West Sub County BungomarnCounty. However there are tools at the disposal of the community to address and curb thernchallenge. The study identified poverty and peer pressure as key determinants of teenagernpregnancy as they predispose teenagers to vulnerabilities beyond their agency to comprehendrnand make informed decisions. The study underscored the need for present parenting in therncommunity and active parental involvement to address the developmental and emotional needsrnof teenagers thus ensuring they are well nurtured and moulded into responsible members ofrnsociety.rnThe study also identified a lack of age-appropriate sexuality education as a key determinant ofrnteenage pregnancy as young people are left to their own devices to access information on theirrnsexual reproductive health and rights. The study found that there is the availability of basicrnsexual and reproductive health information products and services provided in schools andrnhealth facilities within the community. Therefore the study concludes that there is a need forrnthe provision of age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education for teenagers to empowerrnthem to make informed decisions and choices concerning their sexual and reproductive health.rnThe study identified social norms as a strong tool that can be leveraged to address teenagernpregnancy when deconstructed. These include norms such as those that intimate that sexualityrnis a forbidden discussion between parents and their children norms on sexual relationshipsrnviewed negatively in social and sexual norms that are strongly gendered and place sanctionsrnagainst pregnant girls presenting harsher social penalties on girls than the men and boys whornengage in sexual intercourse with the girls.
Publication Information
Author(s):
Focus County(s):
Bungoma County
Programme Area(s):
Sexual, Reproductive, Adolescent & Child Health
Research Priority Area(s):
Disease Domain(s):
Teenage pregnancy
Document History:
Publication Date: 15.Nov.2022
Conference Title:
Venue: