Inaccurate or misleading information on sexual and reproductive health may be to blame for the rise in cases of teenage pregnancies, Fida Kenya has said.
FIDA is a Spanish acronym for International Federation of Women Lawyers, that is, Federation International De Abogadas
The organisation says proper sex education can reduce the pregnancies.
Fida Kenya deputy executive director Wanjiru Kamanda said a law under review will ensure teenagers get correct information and not rely on peers and the internet.
“There is a lot of outcry about teenage pregnancies but we also have to ask ourselves a question, where do adolescents get the information related to their sexuality and reproductive health?” she asked.
Kamada spoke Thursday during a webinar on the Reproductive Health Bill, 2019.
She said the Bill proposes adolescents have access to reproductive health services including access to guidance and counselling, and age-appropriate mentorship programmes.
Other provisions include counselling on abstinence, consequences of unsafe abortion, sexually transmitted disease, substance abuse, livelihood, and offer them life skills.
“The Reproductive Health Bill goes beyond pregnancy and abortion. It also has other issues that affect adolescents and it urges the government to include age-appropriate information in the syllabus,” she said.
Article 43 (1) of the Constitution states that every person has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to health care services, including reproductive health care.
However, the director added, a lack of legislation hinders the full realisation of these rights.
“There are also social and cultural factors that hinder the enjoyment of sexual reproductive health rights for various groups. The Bill will assist in creating awareness and offering relevant information to citizens to end stigma and ignorance around the issues of reproductive health,” she said.
The Bill further states that every person shall have access to reproductive health services and gives the county and national government the responsibility to provide the services.
“The National Government shall put in place the necessary mechanisms and infrastructure to facilitate access to the highest attainable standard and quality of ante-natal, neo-natal and post-natal services in national referral hospitals,” it states.
Counties will implement the national policy and strategies on reproductive health including the referral mechanism for diagnosis and treatment of reproductive health-related complications.
“The counties will allocate, in the county budget, the funds necessary for the provision of reproductive health care in the county health system including finances required to hire adequate personnel,” the Bill reads.
The Bill sponsored by Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika has been opposed by religious leaders but some MPs and medical practitioners have rallied behind it.