Careless and unsafe abortions among girls and young women in Lamu are still a key hindrance to the fight against maternal, newborn and infant deaths in the county.
Lamu County is among counties with the highest maternal deaths in Kenya with an estimated 676 mothers dying for every 100,000 births recorded.
The number is way above the national statistic of 362 mothers dying all around Kenya for every 100,000 live births.
However, the national and county governments and well-wishers have for several years been making efforts in reducing the maternal deaths, including establishing maternal shelters in hospitals and the various dispensaries in the region.
Speaking to Opera News Hub on Saturday, Lamu County Assembly Health Committee Chair, James Njuguna Komu revealed that due to the Lamu societal and religious pressures that require unmarried women to remain virgins and childless until after wedlock, many of the young women who find themselves pregnant before marriage end up committing unsafe abortions to meet up to the expectations of the society.
Mr Komu said many such young girls use just about anything to get rid of the unwanted pregnancies and in the long run, end up dying altogether.
The County Assembly Health Committee Chair noted that some of the culprits also end up with lifetime scars that cost them their lives and those of their babies when the right time comes for them to have children.
He recommended that the county government hire more public health workers who will go around schools and create awareness among school girls and educate them on the need to stay away from sex until they are married.
“Many girls and young women of between 14 to 19 years end up dying during the abortion process alongside their unborn babies. If they don’t have sex before marriage, then definitely we won’t have them dying in their numbers due to unsafe abortions. We have made the necessary recommendations which will hopefully be adopted by the county government so as to arrest the situation. It’s unfortunate that Lamu is still among the counties with high number of maternal and infant deaths. The effort to end this is hindered by the unsafe and careless abortions always being undertaken by our girls and young women in our region,” said Mr Komu.
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