Sex education to stem unwanted pregnancies

As emotive as the subject of abortion is, we need to urgently address the root cause fueling unsafe sex amongst teens and students in tertiary institutions. Legalisation of abortion may not be the only solution. Unsafe sex is the cause of unwanted pregnancy and should be addressed seriously.

The number of teenagers hospitalised at public health facilities with complications from botched abortions is increasingly worrying with at least one case per week from a tertiary institution admitted with advanced complications like heavy bleeding, uterus perforation, scarring, infection; which may even lead to death.

One of the key steps to address this is to set up alternative health forums to address why unsafe sex is ‘trendy’ amongst this special population and with most studies suggesting that many teens have limited access to sexual health services, what are we doing about it as the Kenyan society? We need to set up alternative solutions driven by reproductive health experts and other stakeholders, which must be comprehensive enough to appreciate diverse opinions and sensitivity of issues.

Honest and deliberate communication on unsafe sex is essential to help teens have a clearer picture of risks associated with the act.

After the deliberations, for the pregnant teenagers thereafter, some of the options to be considered could be setting up and monitoring rescue centres and adoption services for those who do not wish to keep their babies after birth.

Empowering girls and women to be independent and make informed choices on their reproductive health is critical for the sanity of our health system.