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Ministry gives nod on sex education in Kenya schools to reduce teenage pregnancies

By Moses Nyamori | Published Thu, September 3rd 2015 at 00:00, Updated September 3rd 2015 at 00:07 GMT +3

The Government is working on modalities of introducing sex education in schools as a way of dealing with teenage pregnancies.

The Ministry of Health said high incidence of pregnancy among teenagers was disheartening as it does not only limit education and economic opportunities for the youth, but poses a serious health risk for both mother and child.

While launching the National Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy 2015 (ASRHP) in Nairobi yesterday, Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said his ministry and that of Education are working to empower young people with appropriate information and skills to help them make informed choices about their sexuality.

"My ministry and together with the Ministry of Education are working to ensure that age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education is implemented in all schools," said Macharia in a statement read by Principal Secretary Khadijah Kassachoon.

He noted that adolescents who have access to sexual and reproductive health information and services are more likely to stay in school, giving them better opportunities to obtain a secure income and fully contribute to a country's economic growth.

The ministry further said it had substantively reduced HIV infections among the young adults through various initiatives.

Health Ministry Cabinet Secretary James Macharia addressing during World Malaria Day Stakeholder Breakfast briefing ahead of the ministry's celebration to be held in Busia town on Friday April 24th, 2015. The Ministry of Health said high incidence of pregnancy among teenagers was disheartening as it does not only limit education and economic opportunities for the youth, but poses a serious health risk for both mother and child.  (PHOTO: ANDREW KILONZI/ STANDARD)

Macharia continued, "As a government we are proud to report our efforts towards reducing new HIV infections among the adolescents. The presidential directives given provided a platform for accelerating prevention and management of HIV among adolescent."

Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2014 report showed 18 per cent of young women aged 15-19 years have given birth or are pregnant with their first child.

Mr Macharia observed, "The policy has laid strategic policy directions that are evidence-based, building on the lessons learnt from previous policy as well as tapping into the global knowledge in terms of what works."

He noted that delivering adolescent reproductive health needs a multi-sectoral approach involving different Government ministries, non-governmental organisations, teachers, parents among other stakeholders.

The launch, which aims at bringing adolescent sexual and reproductive health into the country's mainstream health and development agenda, comes just after The Standard's exposé on the shocking number of backstreet abortions in the country.

The policy is part of a wider five-year investment plan by the ministry and will also finance the comprehensive health of mothers and newborns at a cost of about Sh223 billion.