Let’s Implement Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy
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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