We are in the electioneering period and politicians are asking for votes from voters while listing multiple promises if elected. Their manifestos widely focus on how they will grow the economy and get rid of corruption but have left out some issues of equal importance we had hoped they would cover. Among the issues are access to the highest attainable standards of reproductive healthcare for adolescents and young people.

Young people prefer accessing reproductive healthcare at youth-friendly centres

For this to happen effectively, these facilities have to be fully equipped and stocked with sexual reproductive health commodities and friendly health service providers.

The 2019 census data estimates, the country’s adolescents and youth comprise more than 60 per cent of the entire population. With this, their reproductive health needs have continuously diversified and with the pre-existing gaps in accessing youth-friendly services, it has been more difficult for young people to find centres around them and ones that are fully equipped and stocked with sexual reproductive health commodities.

Provision of adolescent and youth-friendly services has the potential of improving access and uptake of reproductive health services, hence reducing cases of diseases, including new HIV infections, and early unintended pregnancies among young people as well as creating a positive ripple effect to their peers around them.

Politicians should remain awake to not just the economic but also the health needs of the current largest voting demographic and have their interests at heart. Their manifestos should reflect that by outlining how their leadership will set up resource mobilization structures to have more youth-friendly centres in place that are equipped and fully stocked.

It’s a great start that Kenyan politicians have young people’s economic growth mapped out, it would also speak more to see their reproductive health prioritized as this will greatly contribute to the success of their lives and beneficiary as a whole.

Emmanuel Lee

Assistant communications officer, Centre for the Study of Adolescence

Leave a Reply