Urgent Need to Enact Proposed Law to Secure Sexual and Reproductive Health in East Africa Countries

By Stephanie Musho

The Ministry of Health in Kenya recently reported that about 700 teenage girls got pregnant daily over a two-month period, in this year alone. What is more is that during this period, 98 adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 19 contracted HIV every week in this time period.

Worse still is that HIV positive women in the country continue to be stripped of their dignity and face abuse in the form of forced sterilization which is as a warped method of reducing HIV infection despite there being no scientific evidence to support these assaults. Moreover, consider that concurrently, 7 women die every day from complications arising from unsafe abortion.

This is only a snapshot of the depressing state of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the country.

The grim reality however does not seem dire enough for Kenyan parliamentarians who have twice before – in 2014 and in 2019, failed to enact separate but similar legislation – the Reproductive Health Bills – that would have provided a framework to mitigate the prevailing circumstances, prevent future occurrences and ultimately bring down these figures.

This op-Ed was originally posted on IPS NEWS on June 27, 2022.