In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Susan Nakhumicha says she will not allow contraceptives to be issued to underage girls in Kenya.
Speaking to the Nation in an interview on the sidelines of the ongoing African Union Summit 2023 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the CS said that by virtue of her faith which teaches abstinence, she believes that young people should be taught to abstain.
She spoke during the joint African Union Development Agency – PEPFAR briefing commemorating 20 years of partnership to End HIV/Aids as a public health threat in Africa and across the globe.
“I am mama kanisa’, we have to teach our adolescents to abstain, I believe that with a firm Christian foundation, they will learn to abstain,” the CS who is a devoted Catholic said.
This comes after last week, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) executive director Winnie Byanyima who was in Kenya for a State visit said that it is time Kenya allows teenagers to access contraceptives.
She highlighted that inequalities and injustices in our societies are driving up the HIV/Aids pandemic and making specific groups of people such as young women and adolescent girls highly vulnerable to HIV infection.
“ Two out of three people living with HIV are women while in 2021, there were still 1.5 million new HIV infections around the world and 650,000 HIV/Aids-related deaths.
The lack of access by so many girls and women to sexual reproductive health and more so contraceptives is the major reason why there are so many newer infections among girls and women than boys and men,” UNAIDS boss told the Nation in an exclusive sit down.
“ Increasing access isn’t just about putting clinics and making available contraceptives, it’s more than that, it’s about safe spaces where girls and young women can feel safe, have the privacy that they need and also have the choice of the method they want so as to protect themselves from infections, HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI’s).
This is not happening for every girl and every woman,” she said before asking Kenya to reconsider her stand.
“If a girl is going to be exposed to situations where she is having sex, forced sex or consensual sex then she needs lifesaving protection. I wouldn’t want to see any child getting pregnant or getting infected just because of a moral argument that is not applicable and if it was really applicable would she be having sex?” UNAIDS boss advised.