Officer in-charge of gender Mrs. Adah Omedi flanked by Director services, Madam Fiona Okwri during the sensitization against early pregnancy and distributing of sanitary towels to the young women in Seme
The County gender team paid a visit to the GENO Community Home based Care (CBO) on a Youth and adolescent sensitization forum in North Seme Ward, Seme Sub-County.
The team, under the directorate of Women, Youth and PWDs Affairs and which was led by the Officer in charge of Gender Mrs. Adah Omedi, flanked by director Social Services, Madam Fiona Okwiri, conducted a sensitization forum on early pregnancy and early marriages and also issued free sanitary towels to the young women in the area.
Speaking at the forum, Mrs. Omedi called on parents and the community to collectively stop early marriages adding that a wraparound social support can be a safe space for children, especially girls, who will be supported to navigate issues they face at school and home and to help them realize their full potential to boost their own well-being and that of the communities and County as whole.
“With greater opportunities, focused group discussions (FGD) and support from parents and communities, girls won’t be driven by circumstances into early marriage.” said Mrs. Omedi.
The early pregnancy rate and Early marriages in Kisumu county is troubling even with a strong healthcare system that guarantees confidentiality, a non-judgmental approach, and support of the adolescents.
Since COVID-19 containment measures were put in place in Kenya, Media reports have confirmed that several adolescent girls may have visited health facilities for antenatal services, including closing schools and restricting movements, access to sexual and reproductive health information and services.
Amid the pandemic, girls and women have continued to suffer SGBV cases and early marriages causing devastating consequences. The pandemic made it difficult for women and girls to access sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information and services, including contraceptives.
According to the WHO, complications relating to pregnancy and childbirth are already the leading cause of death for girls aged 15-19 globally. Adolescent girls face heighten risks such as early marriage in the world of COVID-19 that may cause them to become mothers earlier than is desired or recommended.
The team also called attention to the importance of continuity of sexual and reproductive health services during COVID-19, particularly for the adolescent girls.
By Matilda Atieno