MoH launches adolescent sexual and reproductive health guide book

By Lydia Gichuki

The Ministry of Health has raised an alarm on the surge of maternal deaths among teenagers between ages 10 and 19 years. In 2021,104 deaths were recorded among girls of this age group compared 31 deaths in 2020.

This, the Ministry said was driven by lack of maternal health services and unsafe abortions.

This coupled with HIV/AIDs and gender based violence has necessitated the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education to come up with a guide book dubbed Understanding Adolescence seeking to help adolescents understand more on such topics.

Last month the Ministry of Health recorded 45,724 cases of pregnant teenagers aged between 10 and 19 years between the months of January and February 2022.

In addition, 2,196 cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) were registered among those aged 12 and 17 years. As a consequence, 98 girls aged between 10 and 19 years are infected with HIV every week due to SGBV.

Further, statistics from the Ministry of Health indicate that 51 per cent of new infections are among Kenyans aged 15-24 years.

The guide is designed to aid adolescents to cope with emotional, social or physical challenges.

The book has a range of topics ranging from healthy relationships and communication, abstinence, sexually transmitted diseases, mental health and drug abuse among others.

Dr. Patrick Amoth, AG. Director General Ministry of health said the guide book will be a reference book that will also parents rely the right information.

‘As a parent who has teenagers, this book makes it easier because it is a reference book that I can share with my teenagers and will be able to convey the right information,’ he said

Dr. Sara Ruto, a Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Education said inadequate access to correct information has been identified as one of the main contributors to teenage pregnancies, HIV infections, gender-based violence and other risks

Teachers welcomed the move saying the guide offers a sigh of relief as parents will also be tasked with educating their teenagers on these topics as this was primarily left to them.

According to Dr. Andrew Mulwa from the Ministry of Health, the books will be disseminated to all schools through physical manual books and websites to enable accessibility of soft copies when students closes schools.

Photo Credit; Ministry of Health

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