In a village, 30 kilometers away from Migori town, a mother and her daughter of 15 years walks into a dispensary for family planning services.
Benta Aoko, a housewife and mother of eleven children visits Kopanga Dispensary after getting word from Huduma Poa Community Health Worker that there is a health event offering reproductive health services.
Benta’s worry is not only her expanding family but her 15 year old daughter who she believes is sexually active and may end up with a pregnancy.
“My daughter is in class seven and I would not like her to drop out of school, please talk to her,” she appeals.
The Daughter-Immaculate Achieng is the second born of eleven children while the first born, a boy aged 17, had dropped out of primary school.
The nurse counsels Benta who settles on a non-hormonal IUCD for birth control saying that she likes the fact that it can help her avoid pregnancy for over 10 years.
The daughter while having a separate session with the nurse confesses that she has a boyfriend having a sexual relationship.
Immaculate and her boyfriend who is also a student haven’t been using any contraceptive.
She says, she knows of friends who use injectable contraceptives but she has never tried it herself. “Some girls around here go for Depo but I haven’t tried it,” she acknowledges.
After undergoing a pregnancy test and counseling on sexual reproductive health, Immaculate also chose an IUCD as her preferred method of contraception.
“I am happy because I know I will give birth only when I want and I thank the nurse for talking to the girl,” Benta beams.
She however, expresses fears that her husband would not be pleased to find out that their daughter is on birth control.
Elsewhere in Siaya County, 16 year old Consolata Adhiambo walks into Ngiya Dispensary purposely to get a contraceptive. Like her counterpart in Migori County, she has ever had that talk with her mother regarding early pregnancies.
Consolata Adhiambo is a form two student and says she has seen a number of her peers drop out of school never to resume again due to pregnancies. She does not want to go down that path. She wants to complete her studies uninterrupted and one day become a teacher though she has a boyfriend.
She tells me that her mother has always insisted that prevention is better than cure and advised her to come to the dispensary and seek for a birth control method. 38
Consolata is lucky because on the particular date, a team of health providers from an indigenous NGO, Kisumu Medical and Education Trust had come to the Dispensary to support provision of family health services and reproductive health education.
She was attended and chose on an implanon to prevent her from conceiving for 3 years.
According to the 2008-2009 KDHS data, 42% of women aged 15-19 years in Migori County have begun childbearing while at least one in ten (10 per cent) women aged 15-49 years have had a live birth before age of 15 in Siaya County.
Each year worldwide, an estimated 13 million births take place among young women between the ages of 15 to 19. In Kenya every year up to 13,000 girls leave school due to pregnancy. In fact, teenage pregnancy is one of the reasons why girls leave school in many parts of this country.
By Emmanuel Oyier,