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HomeHealthConcern over misuse of emergency contraceptive pill and hormonal contraceptives among Nyeri...

Concern over misuse of emergency contraceptive pill and hormonal contraceptives among Nyeri youth

Nyeri County health officials have raised alarm over the growing misuse of the emergency contraceptive pills among the youth in the County.

Led by Ann Kiragu, the Officer-In-Charge of the Nyeri Town Health Centre, they say that most of the teenagers were ignorantly using the emergency pill as well as hormonal contraceptives, without considering the future side effects that it may have on their health.

“We have realized that the youth and more so minors are sexually active and they are misusing the emergency contraceptives without seeking proper information from the health centres. This is worrying because they are not informed about the high hormones that are contained in the e-pill, which can cause primary infertility or other reproductive health issues in future,” she said.  

Kiragu, who was speaking during a one-day free reproductive health camp for youth and adolescents, also challenged area women to seek professional maternal health services in order to reduce neonatal and maternal mortality rates in the County.

She noted that most women, especially those in the informal settlements of Majengo and Kiwara, were resorting to the risky trend of home deliveries.

“We have been reaching out to the women in slums through Community Health Volunteers. We always enlighten these mothers who deliver at home about the importance of giving birth at the health facilities and why they need to get to the health facility at the right time to prevent the risk of death of the mother or the child,” she said.

The medical camp was organized by Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP), the county government of Nyeri and the National Aids Control Council (NACC) to create an opportunity for youth and teenagers to interact with health officials and to boost their confidence when seeking sexual reproductive health services.

During the camp, the youth benefited from free HIV tests, breast cancer examination, reproductive health and Human Papillomavirus sensitization and vaccination.

The participating youth were also screened for sexually Transmitted Infections.

NACC Central Region Coordinator, Julius Koome, said that the County was still grappling with high HIV infection rates among the youth.

Koome said among the five counties in the Central Region, Nyeri’s HIV prevalence rate stood at 4.3 per cent with females being the most infected.

He said that the situation had been made worse by the early sexual debut among teens, which had in turn led to the rising number of teenage pregnancies. According to NACC records, Nyeri adolescents have their first sexual encounter at the age of 12. 

“There is a correlation between rising teenage pregnancies cases and HIV infection because teenage pregnancies mean these children are engaging in unprotected sex, while 23,000 people in Nyeri County are living with HIV. The infections are still increasing among the youth, especially those aged between 15- 24 years because right now, they are facing issues like mental health and Sexual and Gender Based Violence, which have contributed to the increase,” said Koome.

JOICFP Chief International Program Manager, Etsuko Yamaguchi, who also graced the event said that there was a need to enhance accessibility of sexual and reproductive health services to adolescents. 

Participants of the Youth Open Day register at the Nyeri Town Health Centre, during a one-day camp aimed at offering reproductive health services to youth and adolescents in Nyeri County

Yamaguchi said there was a need for more youth friendly interventions to remedy teenage pregnancies as well as sexual health related issues. 

She said that the camp had offered an opportunity for the youth who are currently on holiday to seek some of the sensitive services that they often shy away from in their individual capacity.

“We want to make these teenagers understand that they have their right to protect their own sexual and reproductive health. We also want their families and other gate keepers in the community to understand that young people have sexual health reproductive rights,” she said.



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