In Kenya, the school holidays were longer than usual , and we took advantage of this ling holidays to initiate discussions in Teen pregnancy and Sexual Reproductive Health through a live Television Program. Where callers regardless of age called to share their opinion or ask questions.
With my youthful co host, Michael of West TV, Television whose coverage is mainly Western Kenyan discussing reproductive health was even easier owing to the challenges we all face in accessing Youth and Adolescent Friendly health Services.
Our focus was on causes of the rising cases of teenage pregnancy and how best to support adolescent girls and boys. I also took the opportunity to talk about our Boresha Dada Campaign.
From the call ins and discussions the main predisposing factors that cause teenage pregnancy include: Dating older men, sexual violence especially rape, drug and alcohol abuse, peer pressure, local night dances, low income levels, lack of sanitary towels, lack of knowledge on how to negotiate themselves out of uncomfortable situations, limited knowledge on contraceptives, lack of role models/mentors.
The callers also came up with solutions if taken up could reduce incidences of unwanted pregnancy and the risks that come with it. Some of the solutions include, educating girls and boys on sexuality, ensuring access to friendly health services, building the capacity of teachers in Comprehensive Sexuality Education, Building life skills of adolescent girls including negotiation skills, taking legal action against perpetrators of sexual violence and parents colluding woth sexual perpetrators, and introducing leadership and mentorship programs in schools, sharing with the girls the economic importance of staying in school, building the capacity of nurses in offering adolescent friendly health services.
The debatable issues the arose from this was safe abortion. Abortion is criminalised and has nor been embraced as a health right for young women and girls. Most callers were worried if girls were encouraged to have safe abortion.
As an organization we hope to introduce such programs on radio and other television / digital platforms to ignite discussions that well cause change in policy within the health sector to benefit adolescents and young women.