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Matiang’i Directive To Curb Teen Pregnancies, HIV Infections & GBV Among Girls

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Matiang’i Directive To Curb Teen Pregnancies, HIV Infections & GBV Among Girls

Matiang’i Directive To Curb Teen Pregnancies, HIV Infections & GBV Among Girls.
Dr. Fred Matiang’i, Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Interior and National Government Coordination, has directed National Government Administration Officers (NGAOs) to deal firmly with the catalysts fueling teen pregnancies, new HIV infections, and gender-based violence in the country.
Matiang’i identified disco matanga, the traditional court system, and funeral vigils as forums that exacerbate the three social challenges that girls aged 10 to 19 face.
He was speaking in Mombasa during the National Dialogue with regional and county commissioners on their roles in coordinating Kenya’s response to HIV, teen pregnancy, and gender-based violence, dubbed the “Triple Threat.”
The County Commissioners were directed by the CS to be ruthless in dealing with the vices and, if necessary, to sack Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs who were found shielding the perpetrators of the vices from prosecution.
The eight Regional Commissioners (RCs) and 47 County Commissioners (CCs) are attending a three-day national dialogue on the ‘Triple Threat’ at English Point Marina to discuss the roles of NGAOs officers in reducing the surge in vices in the country.
Matiang’i also directed top-level administrators to use established structures to mop up public sensitization campaigns with the goal of halting the triggers of the vices he referred to as a “silent pandemic” affecting the country’s youth.
“I, therefore, call upon the county commissioners to ensure that we include the agenda of ending the triple threats in our public engagements programmes, and create a conducive environment where young people thrive without discrimination, stigma and violence. Improve school enrolment, retention, transition and completion rates by ensuring that all children are in school,” counseled Matiang’i.
The CS also directed his officers to use barazas and nyumba kumi meetings to engage gatekeepers and religious leaders in order to raise awareness, report cases in order to reduce vices, encourage community-centred solutions, and collect data in order to ensure evidence-based decision making and response.
“Partner with education officers, Nyumba Kumi elders, parents’ associations as well as non-State actors to encourage all children to attend and remain in school and transition to the next level. Collaborate with community and religious leaders to enforce laws legislating the age of marriage at above 18 years among all communities,” he added.
The CS also directed senior NGAO officers to ensure that perpetrators of teen pregnancy and gender-based violence face the full force of the law and that any pregnant girl returns to school.
“Tackling these threats requires a multifaceted approach. I cannot emphasize enough the need for strong community health and administrative systems supported by an equally strong multi-agency approach as key pillars in the prevention and management of these vices,” added Matiang’i.
Matiang’i also urged the National Aids Control Council (NACC) and the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) to train County Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners to serve as Training of Trainers (ToT) to other administrative officers in order to strengthen the fight against the triple threat.
“On this matter, there is no NGAO, Ministry of Health, or Education Ministry. It is all of us versus Triple Threat. It is important you develop tools for the TOTs to use in training our other administrative officers. Develop training manual, literature to administer the training,” he added.
Susan Mochache, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Health, stated in her speech that the country has made collective efforts in dealing with the three vices over the last three years.
“In 2018, there were 427,135 cases of teenage pregnancies reported at antenatal clinics. These numbers, though still high, reduced by 26 percent to 317,644 in 2021. Counties such as Kilifi, Taita-Taveta and Siaya have reduced the number of teenage pregnancies by more than 50 percent in the same period,” added Mochache.
She went on to say that the National Government has made great strides in collaboration with other partners to eliminate AIDS as a public health threat, noting that HIV programs have resulted in a 67 percent decrease in annual AIDS-related deaths between 2013 and 2021.
“This encouraging performance reflects an increase of 83 percent in the number of people living with HIV that are on life-saving antiretroviral treatment, from 600,000 people in 2013 to 1.2 million people in 2021,” she stated.
“For adolescent girls, in 2015, every week, more than 343 girls aged 10-19 were newly infected with HIV. In 2021, these numbers albeit still high had been reduced by 71 percent to about 98 cases in a week,” Mochache added
She went on to say that 12,520 cases of sexual and gender-based violence were reported last year, with 4,664 survivors receiving HIV prevention services and 53 contracting the virus.
“While we acknowledge progress, we are still concerned that every week, 98 girls aged 10-19 are newly infected with HIV. This year, in the months of January and February, we attended to 45,724 pregnant adolescents of the same age group and 2,196 cases of sexual and gender-based violence among those aged 12-17,” added Mochache.
The Health Ministry Principal Secretary also told the forum that in 2021, 21 percent of all antenatal care attendances would be adolescent mothers aged 10-19, with 23,279 girls aged 10-14 presenting with pregnancies in health facilities.
“Kenya has a predominantly young population, with 67 per cent aged below 29 years. We cannot nurture their potential if we continue to condone the disruption of education for adolescent girls,” she stated.
Matiang’i Directive To Curb Teen Pregnancies, HIV Infections & GBV Among Girls

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