It is estimated that the average teen pregnancy rate in 2017
stood at 25% with Homa Bay, Lamu, Siaya and Busia reporting rates of 40% and
The unmet need for contraceptives amongst the 15 – 19-year-olds stands at
Currently, three out of five adolescents worldwide – or 23
million people – who want to use contraceptives to prevent an unplanned
pregnancy are being denied it.
Adolescents are often told that sex outside
marriage is wrong, while some countries have even created laws to block
unmarried adolescents from accessing contraceptives.
When they do marry – often
while still very young – they face pressure to have children almost
“Too often, society treats young people as irresponsible or
naïve, and withholds the resources they need to prevent or delay unplanned
pregnancies,” Dana Tilson, Country Director at Marie Stopes Kenya, said.
“At Marie Stopes Kenya, we know this situation has to change if we
are to see a world in which every girl has the same opportunities as the boys
Blocking access to contraceptives and comprehensive sexuality
education (CSE) does not prevent young people from having sex, but instead
increases the chance that young women will experience an unplanned pregnancy,
often derailing their hopes and dreams for the future.
The impact of this is
devastating. Complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among
young women aged 15-19, many due to unsafe abortion.
Unplanned pregnancy can also limit the ability of young
people to remain in education and realise their full potential, resulting in
greater costs to society through lower wages for women and increased population
“When women and girls have access to contraception, it is transformative
for their future: Fewer girls drop out of school, fewer young women die giving
birth, and more young women enter the workforce. This benefits the country as a
whole,” added Tilson.