A total of 430,825 pregnant teenage mothers attended antenatal clinics in 2018, data from the Health ministry has shown.
The mothers were aged between 10 and 19 years. According to National Aids and STI Control Programme head, Dr Catherine Ngugi, a total of 5,286 mothers, representing 12 per cent of those exposed to HIV, passed it on to their babies, as compared to 3,131 mothers in 2017.
The 2018 data represents a 68 per cent increase in the number of mothers who missed out on antiretroviral therapy known as Prevention of Mother to Child Therapy (PMTCT) that would have stopped them from infecting their babies.
“From the data, 12 out every 100 mothers that were exposed to HIV passed it on to their children. This means they did not receive the PMTCT that would have kept their babies free of HIV,” she said.
In the 20 to 34 year segment, girls were three times more infected with HIV than boys, the statistics indicated. Dr Ngugi was speaking at a media briefing in Nairobi last week during a two-day meeting between the ministry and the 47 counties to review progress on the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis and reproductive, maternal and neonatal, child adolescent health.
“Teenage mothers significantly contribute to the burden of maternal and child mortality as well as mother-to-child HIV infections in the country. One out of every three mothers aged between 10 and 24 years that attended antenatal sessions were victims of sexual and gender-based violence,” she said.