The rising number of middle level colleges and universities in Siaya County is to blame for the increase in teenage pregnancies and HIV/AIDS in the area, medical officials have said.
According to the County Reproductive Health Coordinator, Elizabeth Omondi, HIV/AIDS Coordinator, Bob Awino and the County Coordinator for Children’s Services, Jermin Konyango, the care free life led by students in the colleges was to blame for the high figures.
Speaking during the launch of a county policy document on adolescent and early teenage pregnancies, the officials said that a recent sample conducted in the county revealed that West Sakwa and North East Alego wards have the highest teenage pregnancies compared to the other wards.
Omondi said that from the survey carried out in ten wards, it was realised that the areas near urban centres where there were colleges and universities recorded high number of teenage pregnancies, unlike an earlier notion that areas along the beaches of Lake Victoria recorded high prevalence rates.
She said that the adolescents have been having a challenge accessing information about adolescent health, adding that the policy document will come handy in tackling the menace that was a threat to future generations.
The medic said that the county was faced with a challenge where children were giving birth to children, an issue that required urgent attention from all the stake holders.
The county coordinator for children’s services, Jermin Konyango said that adolescent and youths must be incorporated in both the County and National Government programmes lest the country produces irresponsible adults in future.
“The policy document will form a reference point to address issues touching not only on adolescents but also child protection matters,” said the children’s coordinator adding that matters such as child labour and early child marriages will also be addressed.
According to the UNAIDS report for 2018, adolescent and young persons contributes 60% of the new HIV/ AIDS infections.
The National Aids Control Council report for 2018 indicates that Siaya has an HIV /AIDS prevalence rate of 21%, with 123,107 people living with HIV /AIDS virus.
The report further says that 2,062 HIV/AIDS related deaths are recorded annually, with new infections standing at 4,039.
NACC reported further that during the year, HIV/AIDS response in the county has been largely donor driven.
By Philip Onyango