1 Kenyans have been urged to speak candidly about rising cases of HIV/AIDS infections, teenage pregnancies and incidents of gender-based violence (GBV) if the country is to overcome challenges that heavily affect youth.
2 Speaking Friday at Kabarnet Boys High School in Baringo County during an awareness meeting, Beyond Zero coordinator Angella Langat said communities must complement government efforts to overcome challenges.
3 “Therefore, we are called upon to take decisive action to openly and honestly discuss and collectively combat the triple threats in order to end them and their resulting negative impacts on our society.” “If we want to be successful on this path, we must involve our youth, community leaders, both levels of government.
4 We must make this everyone’s business.
5 We must implement preventive strategies,” said Ms. Langat.
6 She called on the public to adopt preventive measures such as the correct and consistent use of condoms to prevent HIV transmission, noting that the country spends more than 25 billion shs a year to control the disease.
7 On teen pregnancy and early marriage, Ms. Langat noted that Baringo County has some of the highest cases in the country, and called on stakeholders to work together to find a lasting solution.”
8 We must end child marriages.
9 One in ten girls (12.2%) in this county is exposed to child marriage, which translates to one in 10 girls leaving school early; one in 10 girls gives birth while she is still one in 10 girls is not growing to her full potential,” she said.
10 Ms. Langat encouraged citizens to report cases of sexual and gender-based violence to the authorities, adding that the government was interested in using a multisectoral approach “Sexual and gender-based violence by people well known to our children fuels pregnancy and HIV.
11 The situation is made worse when victims are denied justice because people who should otherwise take measures opt for kangaroo courts to subvert justice,” said Ms. Langat, noting that in Baringo County, 30 of the 181 registered cases of sexual and gender-based violence occurred among adolescents between the ages of 10 and 17, adding that such cases increased 15-fold from 2 incidents in 2018 to 30 last year.
12 Ms. Langat called on parents to return to traditional ways of advising and guiding their children on issues related to teen sex and its resulting effects on their futures.
13 Baringo CEC for Health Dr. Richard Rotich said the county government had included appropriations for Community Health Volunteers (CHV) in this year’s budget in addition to establishing a law that recognizes health care workers.