REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

State should roll out sex-ed to eliminate sexual health gaps

Maintaining age of sexual consent at 18 not enough to protect young ones from abuse

In Summary

• Men are also encouraged to be equal partners in taking action on their reproductive health. 

• Retrogressive cultural practices and low uptake of contraceptives lead to an increase in teen pregnancies. 

Kids aged 10 need sex education
AGE-APPROPRIATE: Kids aged 10 need sex education
Image: COURTESY

Maintaining the age of sexual consent in Kenya at 18 years has done little in protecting adolescents and children from being sexually abused and subjected to retrogressive cultural practices.

Four out of 10 sexually active adolescent girls aged 15-19 are on a contraceptive method. Additionally, many communities still carry out child marriages and female genital mutilation which is greatly inhumane and violates several human rights encompassing reproductive rights.

Reproductive rights work to maintain the autonomy of women having to make decisions about their fertility and its violation leads to medical, emotional and psychological issues. Men are also encouraged to be equal partners in taking action on their reproductive health.

 

Over the years, men have taken a back seat in family planning stating that it is the woman’s duty. However, still being the major power holders in society, it is important for men to be actively involved in planning their family size and stamping out gender inequality.

To continuously enjoy good sexual health, there is a need for consistent dissemination of the right information pertaining to effective and affordable contraceptive methods, availability of safe houses, the existence of well-equipped maternal and neonatal wings, accessibility of youth-friendly centres with gender varied service providers.

Consequently, the government has had different interventions that have been key in providing pointers and action plans in eliminating the reproductive health gaps. As we mark World Sexual Health Day, the government should roll out comprehensive sexuality education to ensuring improved health outcomes, gender equality and uninterrupted education.

Kisumu