, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 18 – Months turned into years and the unwarranted deaths did not stop; one after the other they died on arrival to the hospital – others losing their uterus rendering them childless for the rest of their lives.
Working at the Pumwani Maternity Hospital – home to some of the saddest maternal hurdles and complications – Wambui Waithaka opted to transform the lives of her patients by sensitising them and putting a stop to the dark-alley abortions.
“In my line of work through the years I have gotten to see the horror of horrors, a situation where the human body is bent and broken.”
“One of the things that got to me is seeing women – young girls, married women – all in near death situations after procuring backstreet abortions.”
“Many even forget that besides getting pregnant there is HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases to worry about and those too you have to protect yourself from only by using a condom,” explained Waithaka.
She decided to turn to social media sure that her target audience would be reached and her efforts bore the campaign dubbed” Condom Friday”.
“As a little way for me to make a change I started my initiative through my Twitter handle and it had me labeled all sorts of names including crazy.”
The platform though solely on social media is an open dialogue on the benefits of using condoms as a contraceptive and teaches the youth on the need to engage in safe sex.
Wambui discloses to Capital FM News that her campaign has faced myriad problems including some stalkers sending her messages, others threatening her life and others condemning her accusing her of promoting sex.
The good doctor however defends her campaign saying that she has learnt how to face critics urging the society not to turn a blind eye and face the hard facts.
“Kenyans are shy and topics of sex, condoms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases never come up and they should not come up as it is taboo,” she said.
According to Wambui the more the society runs for cover each time the topic comes up the more the youth have no access to information and end up trapped in situations that they are clueless about.
Statistics show that abortions are a lead cause of deaths amongst young girls between the ages of 15 to 26 in Kenya with the numbers standing at a high of 464,690.
According to the 2012 study by the African Population and Health Research Center, Rift Valley recorded the highest cases at 38,687 followed by Nyanza with 36,842.
Girls are said to shy away from using condoms as they engage in sexual activity due to the stigma that has been attached to its use.
The National Aids Control Council (NACC) and the National AIDS& STI Control Program (NASCOP) prior to Valentine’s Day ran a campaign to distribute one million condoms in Nairobi County, a drive that brought together thousands of people.
During the campaign, they urged Kenyans to add a condom to the equation if they intend to engage in sexual activity.
According to the Deputy Director of NASCOP Martin Sirengo, the number of persons infected with HIV/AIDS has reduced due to the increased use of condoms.
Sirengo said: “As of last year the number of people infected between the age of 15 and 49 stood at 5.6 percent from an initial 7.2 percent.”
“There is an increased use in condoms which has greatly contributed to the reduction of those infected with the HIV virus. Five years ago only one out of 10 people used condoms and today approximately seven people use condoms,” he explained.