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The Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health policy was launched yesterday at a glamorous event with stakeholders and partners from both government and non-governmental organisations. The policy seeks to address all the emerging issues of adolescents in this generation and hopes to use new platforms, social and mass media, to spread the word about awareness, information and leading healthy responsible lives in this generation. Here is a general overview of the document.
- At-risk youth groups: Young people in slums are exposed to early sexual debut, low contraceptive use, transactional sex, sexual abuse, high burden of unintended pregnancies, and drug and alcohol abuse.
- Adolescents in the labour market: Due to low educational attainment, child labour is associated with limited access to reproductive health information and services, as well as opportunities for self-advancement.
- Adolescents with disabilities: People with disabilities cannot easily access health services, and this has implications on their sexual and reproductive health.
- Adolescents living with HIV: Adolescents living with HIV face unique challenges as they transition to adulthood because they are less likely to be in school, likely to be orphaned, lack appropriate services and are often unable to negotiate contraceptive use or even access contraceptive methods.
- Married adolescents: Married adolescents, as expected, experience sexual intercourse more frequently compared with those who are not married, with very limited condom use despite a higher risk of HIV.
- Orphaned adolescents: There are about 1.8 million orphans aged zero to 17 years in Kenya. Nearly half of the estimated number of orphans in Kenya is as a result of the HIV/Aids epidemic, which has also contributed to the increased number of adolescents heading or living in child-headed households, a particularly vulnerable group of orphaned adolescents. Orphans tend to lack guidance and support which is associated with increased vulnerability to risky behaviours among children.
- Adolescents in emergency situations: Displaced women face particularly high levels of maternal mortality, unmet need for family planning, complications following unsafe abortion and increased gender-based violence as well as sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. In addition, there are usually no services designed to meet the sexual reproductive health needs of adolescents in these populations.
So guys, the government is thinking about us and is trying to look at every problem we may be encountering. Remember to stay safe, protect yourself and those around you.