By Njoki Karuoya
World Population Day is being celebrated today under the theme ‘Universal access to reproductive health services’, I suppose because not every man and woman in need of these services is getting it.
For a while now, attention has been placed on reproductive health concerns including family planning. These topics have a tendency to raise praise and ire in equal measure, perhaps because we still shy away from discussing, in open, all matters to do with sex, private parts and what they do, like producing forth children.
Yet these ‘sensitive’ matters have to be discussed repeatedly for them to get to the point of no longer being sensitive, so that all those issues that negatively affect the status of reproductive health can be sorted out.
For instance, why are women still dying from childbirth? Is it because this issue is considered inconsequential? Maneno ya akina mama? (women’s business?).
Time is long overdue for men to get more actively involved in this child-bearing business in relation to ensuring that their women and children get first-class treatment, whether it is through the hands of traditional birth attendants or health centres.
Days of blaming God for taking away the lives of hundreds of women and children should permanently remain in the past as a lot of those ‘God’ deaths are largely a result of human negligence and ignorance.
If we as communities and as a country continue to relegate reproductive health to the back burners, then we shall continue to churn out children that are so unhealthy (which leads to lack of motivation with life) that we will forever remain a developing country, recording high rates of maternal and infant deaths.
Millennium Goals Four and Five deal with improving the lives of women and children by reducing their deaths at childbirth, and Kenya, to date, still shows little concern with its poor record in this regard.
Sadly, we are not even mourning the fact that, while other developing countries are making great strides in achieving their 2015 goal, we prefer to be lumped together with war-torn countries like Somalia and Afghanistan whose death rates are astronomical.
According to the United Nations Population Fund:
- Salva Kiir sacks top South Sudan officials
- Lawyer wants Chinedu to appear in court
- Maji marefu’s futile effort to find stolen property
- Diplomatic passports, special number plates for governors
- Can chickens really be cleverer than a toddler? Studies suggest animals can master numeracy and basic engineering
- Freedom of media under threat in Eastern Africa