By PETER KOMBE
A section of lobbyists in Mombasa County have asked the government to streamline sexual reproductive health and rights policies in a bid to address some of the critical concerns affecting young people.
According to the lobbyists the current SRHR policies limit young people in terms of age and the type of information to share to the adolescents.
Speaking to The Coast Newspaper on phone Dream Achievers Youth Organisation Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights programs officer Gaitano Muganda said there is a need for the government to refine the policies to ensure they are accommodative.
Muganda suggested that the policies should complement the implementation of the policies and not limiting or restricting them.
“Sexual reproductive health and rights policies exist. However they have limits,” he said.
Muganda notes that teenage pregnancy, a thorny issue amongst young people, requires a joint approach.
He lauded efforts by the county government in addressing the issue of teenage pregnancy.
“The two months program seeks to empower young people to make informed decisions. It is also geared towards reducing teenage pregnancy,”
On his part, the programs coordinator Enos Opiyo said the community has responded positively towards the implementation of the exercise.
Opiyo notes that one of the recommendations that the religious leaders want is that SRHR lessons should be inculcated and taught in places of worship.
He, however, wants the county government to put more effort as it addresses the issue of teenage pregnancy amongst teenaged.
“The county has done a lot of work in addressing the issue of teenage pregnancy. However this is not enough,” Opiyo noted.
Mary Atieno (not her real name) hailing from Kadzandani ward in Nyali Sub county says there is need for the county government to develop appropriate SRHR policies.
Atieno says there is a gap between young people and the healthcare providers which hinders the youth from accessing reproductive health services,”
“Accessing SRHR services is a burden to some of us. Some do not know where to begin when we go to a health facility,” she claimed.
Records in the county health department show some 8034 cases were reported in health facilities in 2018, an increase of about 20 per cent in 2017.
According to the 2017 report from the health ministry on adolescent sexual and reproductive health in Mombasa county, one in five 17 per cent of girls aged between 15-19 had begun child bearing, which was the same as the national level at the time.