NAIROBI, September 26 – Kenya joined the world on Friday to commemorate the World Contraception Day.,
National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development (NCPAD) Senior Programme Documentalist David Kinyua told Capital News that the focus for this year’s celebrations would be on empowering youth with information on contraceptives.
“The day will be to provide information of the available contraception methods and teach people how to take charge of their lives, the youth especially will be able to make informed choices on the use of contraceptives; what to use and how to use it,” he said.
Mr Kinyua noted that most youth become sexually active during adolescence and stressed on the need to involve that group in reproductive health issues.
He expressed concerns that the young people shy away from seeking proper family planning methods due to stigmatization, thereby opting for unsafe means.
Mr Kinyua said that among the effects of lack of information was the misuse of the morning-after pill and unwanted pregnancies.
In June, Capital News broke the story of how young people misuse contraceptives, with many of those interviewed confessing that they used the emergency pill three to four times a month.
The young ladies said they shied away from going to family planning centers due to discrimination and unfriendly services.
According to Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2005 report 23 precent of girls between ages 15-19 are either pregnant with their first baby or are already mothers.
Mr Kinyua said: “These statistics mean a lot, when there is such a percentage, how many others are already having sex? For this 23 percent assume they had been empowered with information they can decide to have a baby or not, they can go to a clinic and comfortably ask for services.”
He said NCPAD was working closely with the Ministry of Youth Affairs to provide youth-friendly services, including a one-stop centre for youth activities like games, cyber cafes, Voluntary Counseling Testing centers, family planning information and others.
Mr Kinyua said that research had identified nine thematic areas that would deal with conflict, security, drug abuse, entrepreneur skills for inclusion in the centres.
He however expressed concerns that there was silence among politicians, parents and other groups on youth in relation to contraception despite evidence that they are engaging in sex.
In efforts to reach out to parents and youth, Mr Kinyua announced that an exhibition centre will be set up in Kawangware -one of the slums in Nairobi where free services revolving around reproductive health will be provided.
There will be exhibitors providing information on sex, HIV, family planning and related services.