The world is home to 1.8 billion adolescents and young people with different sexual reproductive health (SRH) needs and potentials.
The Kenya Population and Housing Census 2019 revealed that adolescents and youths below the age of 35 years account for 65% of the total Kenyan population.
The population of adolescents and young people between 10-24yrs has been on the rise and will keep skyrocketing.
Adolescence and Youth is a critical life stage that is full of many sexual choices which can yield a better or miserable future.
It is a stage coupled with physical, emotional, and psychological developments in preparation for adulthood.
More often there is always confusion about whether sexually active adolescents and young people should access SRH services the same way adults do in health care facilities.
To debunk the confusion, misconceptions, and misinformation among adolescents and young people, there is a dire need to invest in adolescent and youth sexual reproductive health service delivery and sensitization.
The investments can be looked at through three lenses; structural developments which entail streamlining the adolescents and youth sexual reproductive health policies, guidelines, and standards as well as the establishment of youth-friendly health care facilities.
Secondly, investing in life skills, behavior change communication, and community sensitizations programs to address physical barriers such as limited information, and misconceptions.
Third, it is imperative to address the socio-cultural and harmful practices that make adolescents and youths vulnerable to HIV/AIDs, STIs, gender-based violence, unplanned pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and undignified menstruation.
Surprisingly, the Ministry of Health revealed that 277 young women get infected with HIV every week, 79% of all new HIV infections occur among adolescents and young people aged 15-34 years. 1 in every 5 women attending the antenatal clinics is an adolescent aged 10-19 years.
Adolescence is not an easy journey, it is full of many obstacles that can deprive adolescents and young people of a golden chance to achieve their goals and dreams.
Therefore it is proper to invest in adolescents and youth’s sexual reproductive health holistically to enable them to live fulfilled productive and dignified lives.
Essentially, as politicians are drafting the country’s development blueprints and manifesto it is crucial that they include their plans for adolescents and youths.
Poor reproductive health exacerbates poverty. As such inadequate health care systems that do not respond to the SRH needs of adolescents and youths compound them to sexual reproductive health challenges.
Investing in adolescents and youth SRH will result in ending the triple threats facing them and creating high-quality health care free from stigma and discrimination to enable adolescents exercise their sexual reproductive health rights.
The author is a team leader at Angaza Youth Initiative