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Youth Friendly Services Key To Tackling Teenage Pregancies in Homa Bay

Category : Naya Blog

By Mackiche Mackiche @mackiche_victor

Homa Bay County has a youthful population with people below age 15 making up nearly half (48%) of the total population.

Teenage pregnancy has remained a major health and social concern because it’s highly associated with high maternal and child morbidity and mortality. In Homa bay, teenage pregnancy is not only a reproductive health issue, but is also an all rounded issue as it directly affects the current and future socio-economic well-being of women.

According to Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014, 33% of girls aged 15-19 years in Homa Bay County have begun childbearing this is considerably higher than the national level, specifically, 2.1% are pregnant with their first child and 31.2% have ever given birth, compared to 3.4% and 14.7%, respectively, at the national level.

Homa Bay County’s age specific fertility rate for girls aged 15-19 (adolescent birth rate) is 178 births per 1000 girls; about 2 times higher than at the national level of 96.

Teenage pregnancies often result from low use of contraceptives and/or unmet need for contraceptives. In Homa Bay County, 3 in 5 (56%) currently married girls aged 15-19 use modern contraceptives which is high compared to 2 in 5 (37%) at national level.

There is still an unmet need for contraceptives among currently married girls in Homa Bay. About 1 in 10 (11%) currently married girls aged 15-19 would like to avoid pregnancy but they are not using a modern contraceptive method compared to 23% at national level.

This means that between 20 and 30% of never married young people in the region did not use a condom during their last sexual encounter. This is a particular concern given the high HIV prevalence in the region.

There is thus need to invest in contraceptives and family planning for young people to reduce teenage pregnancy, ensuing unsafe abortions and maternal mortality and tackle issues of poverty.

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The author is a Youth Advocate based in Homa Bay County.

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Young and Diabetic; One Girl’s Story

Category : Naya Blog

By Kelvin Mokaya, @EduardoKelvinho

Image Courtesy: www.fotolia.com

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death globally and diabetes mellitus is the 4th main contributor. It is characterized by chronic hyperglycaemia with disturbances of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism resulting from defects in insulin secretion, action or both. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the prevalence of diabetes in Kenya is at 3.3% and predicts a rise to 4.5% by 2025.
Susan’s Story…….

“It was in late 2002 when I started falling ill. I thought I had malaria and I went to the pharmacy and bought antimalarial drugs. I took the drugs but I didn’t improve, so I decided to go to the hospital. I was told that I had amoeba and typhoid and I was given medicines but even after taking those medicines my health kept on deteriorating. I had the diabetes symptoms but I didn’t know that I could be developing diabetes.

In February 2003, my friend who is a dentist asked me to go to her place so that she could take me to a specialist. She took me to a diabetes and kidney specialist who diagnosed me immediately with diabetes after I told him how I was feeling. He just pricked my finger and tested my blood sugar and confirmed that indeed I had type 1 diabetes at that time I was 20yrs old when I was diagnosed.

I was put on Humulin 70/30 thrice a day for the first 2 weeks and then twice per day after that. It was not easy at first to inject myself but at least my doctor friend guided me through the process until I learnt how to do it by myself. It was not easy at first to accept that I was going to live with the condition for the rest of my life, but with time I accepted it and since then I can’t complain much. I thank God that when I got pregnant in July 2012, I didn’t have any complications through the pregnancy. Now my daughter is 2yrs and 4months old.

However, treatment is expensive and I have to pay out of my pocket. The annual tests are very expensive. I haven’t gone for those tests for 3 years now. Insulin is still expensive in Kenya. You can find it in government hospitals or in pharmacies. In government hospitals it’s a bit cheaper compared to pharmacies. There are people who can’t afford insulin. I wish our Kenyan government could provide it for free. ”

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Like Susan says, the high cost and low availability of insulin in Kenya with inadequate patient follow up contributes to poor management. Although the Kenyan government subsidizes insulin to reduce the price for patients, supplies frequently run out and there is miscommunication between local depositories and central medical stores to restock.

Diabetes requires long-term follow up, with uninterrupted access to medication and specialist care. Many health workers lack adequate knowledge and training thus exposing diabetics to suboptimal management. Many health facilities do not routinely screen for hyperglycaemia.

The current disease burden indicates a need for more resources for prevention and health promotion, with primary healthcare taking greater responsibility for chronic diseases. Effective primary care should lower hospital admissions and reduce overall cost. The WHO recommends changes in financing and delivery of services for chronic conditions within Kenya and other sub-Saharan African countries. Funding needs to be reassessed and allocated appropriately, with a greater proportion to NCDs especially diabetes. A lower financial burden on individuals by increasing public funding should:

  • Reduce poverty,
  • Increase treatment compliance,
  • Improve diabetic control and
  • Reduce complications, thus
  • Reducing further burden on healthcare services.

The burden of diabetes has been recognized. Kenya is addressing the need for improvements through the launch of The National Diabetes Strategy. This aims to prevent or delay the development of diabetes, improve the quality of life by reducing complications and premature mortality. Key interventions prioritize prevention, early detection and control. Hospital diabetic clinics have been established in some of the counties but access remains a challenge due to long distances of travel. Success of such strategies is dependent on their sustainability and local ownership. To date there has been little evaluation of the strategy so policy makers cannot make informed suggestions for improvements.

For Susan and other young people to have access to the highest attainable standard of health, there is need to increase access to diagnostic, therapeutic and palliative care. All this begins with increased budgetary allocation to Non-Communicable Diseases.

 

The author is a Youth Advocate with NAYA.

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We are Hiring – National Co-ordinator

Category : Naya Blog

The Strategic Partnership Right Here, Right Now addresses the limited respect, protection and the hindered fulfilment of the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of young people in 10 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and in 1 sub-region, the Caribbean.

In Kenya, the platform draws its membership from 14 organisations. Based on an analysis of the underlying causes of this problem, the partnership strives for the protection, respect and fulfilment of young people’s SRHR that is inclusive, including girls, young women and young lesbians, and key populations). Specific attention is given to:
freedom from stigma, discrimination and violence; access to comprehensive youth-friendly services; access to comprehensive information; and space for young people’s voices.

Advocacy is at the basis of how the partnership expects desired change to happen in a particular context. A more progressive and inclusive collaboration of CSOs in national SRHR advocacy partnerships/platforms can be instrumental to strengthen advocacy for SRHR  services and information, including, but not limited to sexuality education.

Position
The RHRN country platform in Kenya is hiring a National Coordinator (NC). The National Coordinator will be in charge of coordinating the work of the RHRN platform and serve as linking pin between platform members. The Coordinator will have the main responsibility to coordinate strategic planning, prepare and carry out joint activities, coordinate monitoring, evaluation and learning activities, foster strategic linkages with other initiatives and
stakeholders and represent the platform.

The National Coordinator will be legally employed by the host organization, Network for Adolescent and Youth of Africa (NAYA). This position is based in Nairobi with travel to project sites in Kisumu and Mombasa or any other place deemed relevant. Brief descript of the position and detailed roles and responsibilities are provided below:

Responsibilities
The National Coordinator will perform, among others, the following functions:

  • Coordinate the implementation of country plans:
    • Coordinate strategic and yearly planning processes and implementation of the country plan by the platform and its members;
    • Initiate activities that promote synergies between platform members and implement joint activities;
  • Inform the Chair of the platform and other platform members and organize meetings for decision-making.
  • Support the platform in Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (PMEL) in liaison with the regional team;
  • Document evidence of good practice for both internal and external learning
  • Compile/draft annual plans and budgets, draft annual progress narrative and financial reports in consultation with the regional coordinator; submits annual plans/budgets/reports to the regional manager, following their approval by the platform, and keeps regular contact with the regional team;
  • Monitor the national policy environment and keeps the platform updated on key developments relevant to the platform. Is overall responsible for the internal and external communication of the platform;
  • Facilitate Linking with other existing initiatives relevant to the work of the platform, seeking alignment and harmonization, building synergies and avoiding duplication;
  • Is the focal point of the platform for the RHRN Consortium members, including the Dutch Embassy, and ensures synergies with the regional and international advocacy activities of the RHRN Global Partnership.
  • Coordinate joint advocacy efforts of the platform in Kenya, especially for national SRHR agenda
  • Serve as a credible representative of the platform and all its programs in events and coordination meetings;
  • Coordinate and give guidance on the facilitation of experience sharing and scaling-up best practices among platform members.
  • The National Coordinator is contracted by the host organization, which is one of the platform members. The National Coordinator is a full-time position and cannot have another position/job at any of the platform members.

Requirements
The applicant must hold a Bachelors degree in Public Health, health sciences or related field With a minimum of three years of progressive responsible experience in SRHR program management, advocacy and managing strategic partnerships.

  • Strong project cycle management experience including monitoring and evaluation, budgeting, financial and technical reporting.
  • Experience and skills in budget advocacy and social accountability
  • Working experience in working with networks as well as different Donor including Dutch is desirable
  • Have working knowledge of key national and International frameworks that mandate SRHR related work (including of Human Rights Treaty Bodies, desired)
  • Significant experience in the field of SRHR
  • Strong believer in human rights
  • Have a progressive stance on SRHR; you have affinity with RHRN values;
  • Communicate well and write in a style that is clear and accessible to others;
  • Have an excellent knowledge of English, both verbal and written;
  • Be results focused and cost-conscious;
  • Be available to travel regionally and internationally (when needed)
  • Excellent communication (written and oral) skills;
  • Excellent facilitation, analytical, administrative and organization skills
  • High levels of integrity and commitment
  • Good knowledge of research and evaluation
  • Passionate about placing youth at the centre of the SRHR program and working with young people as equal partners
  • Ability to work independently;
  • Self-confident, persistent and decisive; good listening capacity; assertive; flexible;
  • Committed to RHRN values

Job Conditions
This is a competitive position that provides a unique opportunity for professional growth and development of the office holder. Young people are especially encouraged to apply.
Application Process and Timetable
If you meet the requirements above and is interested, please send a cover letter, detailed CV, and contacts of three referees, two of whom must be professional referees and one other, also include the expected salary. All these should reach the undersigned through email address  npc@nayakenya.org and cc asizomu@ippfaro.org by COB January 25, 2017. Your application should have reference of the above position. This position is open to Kenya Nationals only. All applications should be made via email.

The application should be addressed to;
Right Here Right Now (RHRN) Kenya
P. O. Box 51505 – 00100
Nairobi, Kenya


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WHAT WE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT; BUT WE NOT

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Category : Naya Blog

 

By Michael Oliech Okunson (@MikeOkunson)

Image Courtesy: afromum.com

Abortion is a medical process of ending a pregnancy and is also known as termination of pregnancy. It is estimated that 1 in 3 women in the world will have an abortion in her life time.

There are two types of abortion; safe abortion is the termination of pregnancy by a well-trained, recognized, professional and licensed person/doctor at a medical facility while unsafe abortion is the termination of pregnancy by unskilled person or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards.

It is estimated that 42 million women and young girls worldwide with unintended pregnancy choose to have abortions and half of all these abortions are unsafe. Furthermore 68,000 women die of unsafe abortion annually in the world making unsafe abortion as one of the leading causes of maternal deaths. Most of these deaths occur in sub-Sahara Africa Kenya included. Moreover, according to the World Health Organization, every 9 minutes in a developing country, a woman will die due to complications arising from unsafe abortion.

In Kenya some of the unsafe abortion methods include drinking toxic fluids such as detergents, inserting sticks and hangers in the vagina or cervix and inserting inappropriate medication in the vagina. Quacks also perform unhygienic abortion hence causing infection in the womb.

Restrictive laws against abortion and lack of access to contraception services and information are some of the factors that has contributed to the high cases of unsafe abortion. In Kenya Abortion is not permitted unless, in the opinion of a trained health professional, there is need for emergency treatment, or the life or health of the mother is in danger, or if permitted by any other written law (Article 26 of the Kenya constitution).  Furthermore 70% of all pregnancies in Kenya occur to women who are not using any form of contraception.

If we are to achieve the sustainable development goal number 3 which recommends to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, then we must end unsafe abortion. Unsafe abortion is easiest preventable cause of maternal deaths.

Preventing unintended pregnancies should be a priority for Kenya if we are to end cases of unsafe abortion. This can be done through both the national and county governments investing more in comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and information. When people have access to correct, accurate, affordable and quality sexual and reproductive health information and services, they are more likely to delay their first pregnancy. Also providing women with better access to affordable and quality safe abortion services can help reduce maternal deaths caused by unsafe abortion.

Amending laws that are against abortion can also help reduce abortion mortality. By amending the law to only allow skilled practitioners to practice safe abortion services will discourage people from going to quacks.

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Let’s Implement Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy

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Category : Naya Blog

By Michael Oliech Okunson (@MikeOkunson)

 

Adolescent account for 24% of the Kenyan population. They face severe challenges to their lives particularly in relation to their sexual and reproductive health as they transition to adult hood. High cases of HIV infection and unintended pregnancies are some of the main problems young people face in Kenya.

According to the National Aids Control Council, one in five young people aged 15 to 24 years reported sexual debut before the age of 15 years. New HIV infection among girls between the age of 15 to 19 years stands at 70% and for young boys in the same age group it stands at 30%. 13,000 new cases of HIV infection are among children below the age of 14 years. Comprehensive Knowledge on HIV prevention is very low among the adolescents. Moreover AIDS is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among the adolescents and young people in Kenya. In 2014 alone 9,720 adolescents and young people died of AIDS.

In addition, according the Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2014 one in five girls aged 15 to 19 years have begun child bearing and 47% of these pregnancies are usually unintended leading to school dropout, unsafe abortion and serious health complication which may lead to maternal death. Maternal mortality is the leading cause of death among adolescent girls and young women in Kenya. Furthermore Adolescent girls and young women account for 70% of all pregnancies in Kenya.

Number don’t lie at all. The Kenya National Examination Council released data of young people in secondary schools and majority of these young people are between the age brackets of 15 to 19 years. This means one of the most vulnerable group in Kenya and are found in secondary schools.

We need age appropriate comprehensive Sexuality education in our school. When young people have correct, accurate and the right information about sexual and reproductive health, they will be able to make informed choices on their sexual behavior, delay sex, reduce multiple sex partners, use a condom during sex hence preventing STIs and unintended pregnancies, and choose whom to have sex with and when to have sex. Comprehensive sexuality education is the key to ending new cases of HIV infection and unintended pregnancy among young people. Knowledge is power.

Comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education is a human right and everyone is entitled to it. Article 35 of the Kenyan Constitution states that every citizen has the right of access to information held by the State and information held by another person and required for the exercise or protection of any right or fundamental freedom. Every person has the right to the correction or deletion of untrue or misleading information that affects the person.

One of the key objective of the National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy that was launched by the ministry of health in 2015 was to increase access to adolescent sexual and reproductive health information and age appropriate sexuality education. We Call upon both the national and county government to implement this policy to the latter.

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Adolescents are Too Important To Be Ignored

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Category : Naya Blog

By Michael Oliech Okunson (@MikeOkunson)

Over 9 million Kenyans are adolescents aged 10 to 19 years. In Kenya adolescents face many sexual and reproductive health challenges such as early pregnancies, STIs and HIV. According to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey 2014, 11% of girls and 20% of boys aged 15 to 19 years started to have sex before the age of 15 years. The unmet needs of contraception among young girls between the age of 15 to 19 years stands at 20%. Furthermore 20% of girls in this same age group have begun child bearing and most of these pregnancies are usually unintended. New HIV infection among boys and girls between the age of 15 to 19 years stands at 70% for girls and 30% for boys. Moreover 23% of adolescents aged 15-to 19 years know their HIV status and out of those aged 10 to 19 years, 105,680 are in need of ART. Comprehensive knowledge of HIV among the adolescents is very low.

Inadequate access to Comprehensive sexuality education and access to quality, affordable, youth friendly and stigma free sexual and reproductive health information and services has contributed to the rising cases of unintended pregnancies and new case of HIV infection.

Comprehensive sexuality education empowers young people to make healthy choices and decision about their sexual behavior. Global evidence shows that this program helps young people abstain or delay sex, reduce the frequency of unprotected sex and the number of sexual partners which helps reduce the spread of HIV. Moreover Comprehensive Sexuality Education increases the use of contraception among young people to prevent unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and helps delay that first birth to ensure a healthier mother and a safer pregnancy in future.

In addition to education access to youth friendly health services are very important to young people because they help young people address a range of sexual and reproductive health needs. The services should always be available, accessible and affordable so that young people can use these services. They should also be acceptable to all youth and the staff in these facilities should be well trained to provide services with privacy, confidentiality and respect.

On the 3rd of September 2015 the ministry of health launched the Revised National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy to reaffirm its commitment to ensure that adolescent have access to comprehensive sexuality and reproductive health services and education/ information. The objective of the policy are: to promote adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights, increase access to adolescent sexual and reproductive health information and age appropriate comprehensive sexuality education, reduce STIs and HIV, reduce unintended and early pregnancies, reduce harmful traditional practices, reduce drug and substance abuse and to address the needs of marginalized and vulnerable adolescents.

County and national government need to prioritize implementation of the policy by allocating resources  to strengthen capacities of institutions, service providers and communities to provide appropriate information and services.

Reproductive health is a crucial part of general health and a central feature of human development. Just like a tree adolescents go through many transition as they mature to adulthood. Investing in their sexual and reproductive health will enable them stay healthy. When right policies and programs are implemented to the later, we will ensure that young people live successful lives and ensure social and economic development.

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WE ARE HIRING

Category : Naya Blog

By Admin,

Background

The Network of Adolescent and Youth of Africa (NAYA) is a youth-led organisation founded by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in October 2001 during the Second Adolescent International Conference.

NAYA seeks to recruit Programme Officer-Advocacy for a 17 months project.

The Programme Officer-Advocacy will coordinate NAYA’s programme implementation in Migori and Homabay counties and provide technical support on linking Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights advocacy to services to service seven (7) delivery partners with a bias to advocacy.

Job Qualification

  • A university degree in Social Sciences, Community Development, Project Planning and Management, Public Health or any other related field
  • Experience of working with participatory community development approaches and policy engagement.
  • Exceptional understanding of advocacy issues related to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Migori and Homabay Counties,
  • Experience working on issues related to devolution of health and budget making process,
  • Experience of supervising and supporting field staff especially young people ,
  • Fluency in English. Excellent written English and ability to speak clearly to various audiences,
  • Excellent report and proposal writing skills. Documented capacity to write high quality funding proposals,
  • Ability to work in a non-partisan manner, sensitivity to ethnic and cultural differences
  • A team player: able to demonstrate a constructive, cooperative and problem-solving approach
  • Experience of planning and carrying out workshops and trainings especially in advocacy
  • Ability to engage effectively with all kinds of stakeholders in a respectful and professional manner,
  • High degree of computer literacy,

Skills and Knowledge:

  • Ability to work independently and as a member of a team.
  • Good analytical and decision making skills.
  • Ability to anticipate, prioritize and manage multiple tasks with keen attention to detail and follow through and meet deadlines.
  • Good computer skills in Word, Excel and PowerPoint; data management and analysis applications; and electronic literature search.
  • Strong knowledge of sexual and reproductive health and rights issues, particularly advocacy for buy-in on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights as a development issue.
  • Must demonstrate good interpersonal and negotiation skills; and cultural sensitivity is imperative.
  • Ability to analyze and synthesize information, and communicate clearly and persuasively verbally and in writing.
  • Must possess excellent written and oral English communication skills.
  • Ability to travel a minimum of 40% of time.

 

If you meet the requirements above and is interested, please send a cover letter, detailed CV, copies of relevant certificates and contacts of three referees, two of whom must be professional referees and one other, also include the expected salary.

 

All these should reach the undersigned through email address jobs@nayakenya.org by COB July 22, 2016 Your application should be referenced as follows: REF: APPLICATION FOR THE POSITION OF ADVOCACY OFFICER.

 

N/B: NAYA only accepts email applications

 

The application should be addressed to;

 

Country Team Leader

Network for Adolescent and Youth of Africa (NAYA Kenya)

PO. Box 51505 – 00100

Nairobi, Kenya

 


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Implement Comprehensive Sexuality Education To Tackle Teenage Pregnancy

By Michael Oliech Okunson (@MikeOkunson)

Nyalenda slums in Kisumu County houses a lot of teenage mothers. Achieng was brave enough to share her story with me.

 

“I wanted to finish school and become a hair dresser but my wishes never came true. I got pregnant at the age of 13 and I was forced to drop out of school to look after my baby. 5 minutes of unprotected sex had ruined my life and dreams completely. I wish I could reverse time to that moment. I could have asked him to use a condom. I wish I had the information on sexual reproductive health and rights, I could have made the right decision. Right now I could be in school working hard to achieve my dreams but all that is gone. I usually feel so bad when I see my friends going to school and reading books that I can’t even read.”

 

She is not alone. According to the Kenya Demographic health survey 2014, teenage pregnancy is highest in Nyanza region followed by Rift valley and the Coast. They say number don’t lie. According to the KDHS 2014 15% of women age 15-19 have already had a birth while 18% have begun child bearing.

There is a need to stop teenage pregnancy before the situation gets out of hand. Teenage pregnancy is not just a health issue but it is a developmental issue too. The price of teenage pregnancy is characterized with lost potential, foreshortened education, lack of opportunities, poverty, and constrained life options.

I believe that every young person must be empowered to decide how many children to have and when to have them. This can be done by introducing Comprehensive sexuality education in schools. Evidence has shown that where young people’s lack of access to critical information about their sexual and reproductive health, we are more likely to see increased cases of teenage pregnancy.

Comprehensive sexuality education provides young people with opportunities to explore their values and attitudes and build skills so they can make safe decisions and reduce their risk of getting diseases such as ‪HIV and getting pregnant

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Sexual Violence against Children Rising in Kisii

Category : Naya Blog

Image Courtesy new.devon.gov.uk

By Michael Oliech Okunson (@MikeOkunson) and Brenda Mageka

While great awareness has been raised about sexual violence against women in Kenya, much less is known about the problem of sexual abuse of children. Studies suggest that more than 7,200 children, including infants, are defiled, molested and sodomised every year.  Experts further believe that many more cases go unreported.

Just recently an 8 year old boy from Kisii County was molested by his own father who is 39 years old. (The pictures are too graphic to share). He molested his own flesh and blood. How wicked and evil people can be at times!

Cases of child sex abuse in Kisii County are on the rise. When you visit Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital and ask about how many cases of child sex abuse they handle in a single day, you will be shocked. The hospital usually receives three cases of child molestation every day. Most of these children are usually between the age bracket of 7-12 years. It is estimated that over 30% of children in Kisii County face sexual abuse of some kind at least once in their lives. This means that 3 out of 10 children in Kisii County have either been molested, defiled or sodomised. Wrap your mind around that and tell me if this is right.

The most disgusting thing about child sex abuse in Kisii County is that in most cases the perpetrator is known to the victim and has no criminal records. It could either be the father, relative or even the neighbor.

Most children who have been molested tend to hide it from others because they are usually threatened and when they speak out their parents cover it up for the fear of social stigma and lack of trust to the government. You can only imagine how many cases go unreported. What is more heartbreaking is that when these cases are reported and taken to court it is usually difficult to get justice for these young children. Corruption at the judiciary and at the police department is a hindrance to justice. Once the brown envelope is handed to them, no justice will ever be found

This has to stop. The sexual victimization of children is ethically and morally wrong. We have to protect the children of Kisii County. In order to stop and prevent child molestation from happening to children in Kisii county, residents of Kisii County and the county government of Kisii must unite and declare war on child sex abuse. This shouldn’t be treated as a favour but as a right protected by the  constitution of Kenya and other legal and policy provisions including the Children’s Act.

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Let’s Talk about Unsafe Abortion

Category : Naya Blog

By Michael Oliech Okunson (@MikeOkunson)

On 27 march in Kuoyo Kaila Kisumu County I saw the consequences of unsafe abortion first hand when a young lady screamed desperately to get help for her 16 year old sister. Immediately I ran towards her house to find her sister in a bad state. I was horrified by what I saw. Anyango was in pain and agony. She had inserted a sharp stick into her cervix in an attempt to terminate her pregnancy but she wasn’t lucky, the stick had broken inside her uterus. Anyango was bleeding profusely and time was not on her side. Sadly she lost a lot of blood and could not endure the pain anymore.  She died when help was on its way.

Anyango’s sister explained to me that Anyango was prepared to take the risk with her health so that she could finish her high school education and go to the university to study nursing and after that get a job and help her family and community. She was their only hope. Now they were left hopeless. “I don’t want what has happened to my sister to happen to any other girl here in Kuoyo Kaila. Tell other girls that they should not be in the habit of doing unsafe abortion because it’s not good. My sister was only afraid” Anyango’s sister whispered to me as tears rolled down her cheeks.

Unfortunately cases of deaths caused by unsafe abortion in Kuoyo Kaila aren’t unusual. In Kisumu county unsafe abortion do happen a lot but women hide it because of the so much stigma associated with abortion. They worry that people will say nasty things about them. In Kenya abortion is not permitted so young girls and women often turn to quacks or midwives or other dangerous option. As a result some women die after the procedure while others suffer complications that haunt them for the rest of their lives.

It is estimated that over 40,000 women die every year because of unsafe abortion. This accounts to 13% of all maternal deaths. Most women in Kenya use extreme measures to end their pregnancy simply because the law doesn’t allow it and they don’t know where to turn to for help and support.

I talked to a senior nurse in Kisumu County and what he revealed to me was shocking. For every ten women who give birth at their medical facility, another woman is treated for complications after an unsafe abortion.  He says unsafe abortion is still a problem in our society and most of his client who are teenagers end up in death or in complications that lead to lifelong problems such as infertility.

The constitution of Kenya under article 43 states that. (1) Every person has the right— (a) to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to health care services, including reproductive health care. Safe Abortion services falls under reproductive health care. The county government of Kisumu should train its health workers on how to address unsafe abortion and how to offer safe abortion services. The county government of Kisumu should also offer civic education on the dangers of unsafe abortion and also arrest the all quacks.

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