KENYAN YOUTH:I FEAR GETTING PREGNANT THAN HIV/AIDS
'Happy New Year! Happy New Year! Bang!( a bottle crushing on the wall)It is a New Year ,New things and new plans'I saw the youth in the euphoric state last night while in town.All carefree and without fear of what lay ahead.Others were fondling in public oblivious of the law on indecency behavior in public places,another young girl of about 14yrs was skimpily dressed with a bottle of whisky ,singing the tunes of Bob Marley( Dont worry about a thing ,every thing is gonna be alright.............).Bang! Tuff! Taff! The police were dispersing the unruly youth who were trying to light up a firework which had been previously announced banned for fear of Al Shabaab terror attacks.
This scenario came to reality after a few hours earlier of my meeting with an old time friend.We met in the house where she was busy making doughnuts for the nephews and nieces in the preparation of the eve of New Year!
Our discussion had ranged from the usual social issues-unemployment,politics,inflation within the slums then to this thorny one ( Premarital Sex). ''Tonight I can assure you that the number of pregnancies that will occur are far too high than the Kenyan Army sent to Somali for peace keeping''. I thought to myself this sad revelation of the youth in the festive season.My child hood friend is for the introduction of contraceptives to teenagers but with care,however the sale of the emergency contraceptives over the counter in pharmacies across the country has posed yet another problem among the youth.The youth in their happy festive moods have depleted the contraceptives within the slums.A quick check in two popular village pharmacies showed that the sales were so high between 24th December and 31st December,that they could not keep up with the demand.
This projects a worrying trend that unprotected sex is on the increase and the youth seem to fear more of getting pregnant than contracting HIV/AIDS.My friend further stresses that ,''In the slum there are so many threats for a girl child right from rape,early marriage and coerced sex leading to unsafe abortion.I don't blame the youth ,it is the society that has become so preoccupied with politics,wars and all that''.
The current statistics from Family Health International shows that normally sexual activities among the youth is sporadic and unplanned,further leading to ineffective use of contraceptives.Another study conducted by World Health Organization and Ministry of Health Kenya(2011) indicated that healthcare providers themselves had challenges in meeting the needs of the sexual and reproductive health of the youth.This was attributed to poor skills in counseling and lack of youth friendly clinics to address sexual issues.
As the schools open for a new year this week,there are some girls who will never go back to school after they discover they are pregnant or have contracted HIV.Bringing to mind this intriguing question ,Should the youth in school be given contraceptives?