Violence, teen pregnancies, and HIV threat to Embu girls

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Concerns have been raised over an increase in cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV), teen pregnancies and HIV infections among girls in Embu County. 

Reports show that the most affected girls are those between 10 - 14 years. 

Several stakeholders, who spoke in Mbeere North during a multisectoral meeting on education which was organised by the National Syndemic Diseases Control Council (NSDCC), observed that many girls have to sit their national exams while admitted to hospital. 

Mr Julius Koome, the regional HIV coordinator in Embu, Tharaka Nithi and Meru counties, noted that more than half of the teenagers (65 per cent) have been affected by the triple tragedy of GBV, pregnancies and HIV. 

Koome noted that NSDCC is working with all stakeholders in the fight against the triple threat against girls in the area. 

"We are working to bridge the gap that exists between national government administrators, the police and the Judiciary while also sensitizing other stakeholders who matter on ways of eradicating these threats," Koome said. 

He further said Embu County has HIV infection prevalence rate of two per cent with 10,000 people living with HIV/Aids.

"Sadly, most of the affected men are not on medication due to stigma. They avoid anti-retro-viral drugs for fear of stigma and this is a big challenge in the fight against HIV," Koome said. 

County Director of Education Kosgey Kipruto said the Ministry of Interior and the Judiciary should work with other government agencies in the fight against the three challenges facing the girl child in the region, adding that most perpetrators never face justice. 

"It was sad and humiliating when three boys accused of defilement were released even before the victim had left the police station where she had gone to report the attack. We must work to protect the victims and ensure perpetrators are punished," Kipruto added. 

Embu County Children officer Davyline Mundia called for capacity building to empower the children.