October | 2017 |

Monthly Archives: October 2017

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Education Act says schoolgirls must have sanitary pads

Education Act says schoolgirls must have sanitary pads

Category : Naya , Naya Blog

Daniel Otieno, Naya Kenya

published by the Star Newspaper, 5th October 2017

image courtesy: 3.bp.blogspost.com

One out of every 10 girls misses school during their periods, UNICEF data shows .This may extend to 15 days of absenteeism in a term. Challenges associated with sanitary pads include cost, fear caused by cultural myths and limited education on menstruation.

Some learning institutions lack proper places to dispose of the pads as well as private places for the girls to change. This results in low self -esteem and frequent absenteeism .There are also cases of teenage pregnancy, HIV-Aids and unsafe abortion, which are still high. This adversely affects the girl’s education.

The Education Act has already been amended to ensure girls in school have access to sanitary pads. Political will, availability of resources and proper coordination are necessary to ensure accessibility in both public and private learning institutions.

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Kenya Must Address Unmet Need for Family Planning

Kenya Must Address Unmet Need for Family Planning

Category : Naya , Naya Blog

Michael Okun Oliech NAYA Youth Advocate, Kisumu

The Daily Nation, 28th September 2017

image courtesy: www.tinzwei.com

As Kenya joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Contraception Day on September 26th, a lot of women in the country are still faced with an unmet need for family planning .Women with unmet need are broadly defined as those who want to postpone their next birth for two years or more, or not have any more children, but they are not using contraception.

According to the latest national survey (Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2014), about one in four married women of reproductive age reported having an unmet need for family planning at the time of the survey , which translates into approximately 1.4 million women. Half of these women to space their next birth and the other half did not want to have any more children.

Women who want to avoid pregnancy but are not using an effective method of contraception, account for a large majority of unplanned pregnancies .In Kenya, 43 per cent of pregnancies are planned. Unmet need for family planning is highest among adolescents (15 to 19-year-olds) and 20 to 29-year –olds at about 30 per cent , compared to 22 per cent of 30 to 34- year-olds .The level of unmet need continues to be higher in rural in rural areas(27 per cent) than in urban areas( 20 per cent).

According to the Ministry of Health, the top four reasons why women who say that they want to avoid pregnancy are not using family planning are;

  1. Fear of side effects and health concerns.
  2. Opposition to use, either by the husband or partner or owing to perceived religious prohibition.
  3. Having sex infrequently ; many wrongly believe that if they only have sex occasionally , they are not at risk, and therefore don’t need to use family planning
  4. Women cited postpartum reasons for not using, although many women are not sure how long they are safe from getting pregnant after giving birth.

While lack of contraceptive supplies and logistics problems in getting the contraceptives to the user continue to be a challenge in some counties, only a small proportion of women (six per cent) stated that lack of access (distance or costs) was the reason for not using them.

With the unacceptably high level of unmet need of family planning in Kenya, reducing it is paramount in the fight against the high level of induced abortions, maternal and neo-natal morbidity .Family planning is critical for the health of women and their families.

Promotion of family planning and ensuring access to preferring contraceptive methods for women and couples is essential to securing the well-being and autonomy of women. Allowing women to choose whether, when, and how many children to have achieves progress on global health goals .It also helps break the cycle of poverty and puts families, communities and countries on a stronger, more prosperous and sustainable path.  

 

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Parents Should Talk About Sex with Teens

Parents Should Talk About Sex with Teens

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Category : Naya , Naya Blog

Michael Oliech, Naya Kenya, Youth Advocate, Kisumu County

The Standard, October 2nd 2017

Many parents and teachers usually think that discussing sex with teenagers is a taboo and embarrassing, and has largely contributed to the rising cases of teenage pregnancy by encouraging promiscuity. We need to realize that talking openly about sex is not the same as encouraging promiscuity .It is about making teenagers aware of what is happening to their bodies, respectful ways in which they can treat their bodies, and how to act responsibly during sexual encounters.

According to the Center for the Study of Adolescents (CSA), there is no evidence to suggest comprehensive sexuality education increases sexual activity among young people .Kenya’s population is largely young. Persons aged 19 years and below account for almost half of the country’s population .First sexual encounter in Kenya stands at 15 years .Some 20 per cent of women aged 15 to 19 years have already had at least one birth.

Comprehensive sexuality education is essential for helping young people prepare for healthy and fulfilling lives. High quality information and education can equip young people with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to make informed choices to enhance their independence and self-esteem, and to help them to experience their sexuality and relationships in a positive and pleasurable way.

The problem of teenage pregnancy and HIV infections among young people in Kenya can only be resolved when all stakeholders , especially teachers and parents , agree to teach young people the dos and don’ts of sex.

I call upon parents and teachers to support comprehensive sexuality education in and out of school .Denying young people their right to information is denying them their hopes and aspirations .All young people have a right to know how to keep themselves safe from abuse, sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies. When young people get the right information about their sexuality, they will make the tight choices.

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