Health CS calls for sustained efforts to address challenges facing adolescents


Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe is calling for sustained efforts to definitively deal with the challenge of teenage pregnancies.
Speaking in Nyeri during a sensitization forum to end the triple threat facing adolescents of HIV infection, pregnancies and gender-based violence, the health CS noted that despite the country registering numerous achievements, the gains have been eclipsed by the dark cloud of the three challenges.
“Sadly, child motherhood has serious health consequences for girls. Some die while giving birth because their bodies are still too fragile to carry a pregnancy to term and deliver safely. Others experience long lasting psychological and physical problems.” Observed Kagwe.
He said the overlapping challenges among Kenya’s children negate the gains made in the health and education sector adding that they are not only disruptive to the individual children but the entire society.
“The issue of child mothers is drawing us back. For example, in 2018 we attended to 427,135 children aged 10-19 with pregnancies in our health facilities. Despite the progress in reducing these occurrences, in 2021, we still recorded 316,187 of this age group attending antenatal clinics.” Noted the health CS.
This even as he called on community leaders to set the pace in efforts aimed at addressing the triple challenges by creating sustainable solutions.
“We must rescue the affected girls and ensure they are taken back to school while building a solid community system that will end these challenges at the County and national levels. The era of looking the other way and letting perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence walk scot-free must end. Let us have constructive community dialogues that provide solutions.” Urged Kagwe.
Speaking at the same forum, Health PS Susan Mochache said the occurrence of teenage pregnancies negates the progress of ending HIV/AIDS as a public health threat adding that they deprive young girls of the opportunity to further their education and attain their career goals.
“We want to build on a country movement that will build resilience across communities to reject all forms of violence against our children. A country where we can see the end of an epidemic that has been with us for close to three decades. This is only possible if we are systematic, deliberate and consistent with our efforts.” The PS told the forum.
The Triple Threat is a national campaign that addresses the challenge of adolescent pregnancy, new HIV infections and sexual and gender-based violence cases among adolescents and young people which contribute to social and economic inequalities and compromise their health.