• Those who call are traced, counselled and referred to health facilities where necessary.
• The number has been made available at an opportune time, given the high cases of reported teen pregnancies and early marriages.
Migori teenagers are using a toll-free number to seek help in sexual health matters as they remain at home in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.
The Migori government, USAID-funded Afya Halisi programme and Safaricom Foundation created the number, 0800724870, so the teenagers can speak out and be supported. It is operational round the clock.
Those who call are traced, counselled and referred to health facilities where necessary.
When Joyce (not her real name) experienced itches on her private parts after spending time with her boyfriend, she found help through the number. The 18-year-old Form 3 student at a local mixed day secondary school said the itches persisted, prompting her to seek a solution.
“I approached my boyfriend who also said he was experiencing the same. When I was struggling to get the cure, I came across a poster in a clinic," she said referring to the toll number.
After calling, she got free counselling and was taken to a local clinic for treatment alongside her boyfriend, also a student.
"When I called, a clinical officer, Seth Midenyo, answered and I shared my problem. After calling, I was referred to a clinic where I got help after he counselled me," she said.
The number has been made available at an opportune time, given the high cases of reported teen pregnancies and early marriages, and fear of high dropout rates when school reopen in January.
"We have been using the number in the group to get help because it is private. It doesn’t cost anything and the counsellors come in handy,” said Alex Otieno, another beneficiary who was treated after contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
Midenyo on Monday said that in the past three months, they have served more than 500 callers. Midenyo is the Nyatike subcounty child and adolescent health coordinator and one of the seven counsellors manning the line.
“Of the callers, 250 got counselled and were referred. For some, there was a glitch in communication, but it has been a huge success,” he said.