The National Syndemic Diseases Control Council (NSDCC) has launched an initiative that aims at eliminating three related challenges that pose a threat to the welfare of young mothers and the community at large.
The initiative, dubbed ‘Jiinue Sasa,” aims to bring to an end the triple threat of HIV infection, Social Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and Adolescent pregnancies through community dialogue that encourages parents to provide sex education and reproductive health to their children.
Presiding over the event, the spouse to the Tharaka Nithi governor, Ms. Margaret Muthomi, disclosed that research has revealed that Tharaka Nithi County is leading in teenage pregnancies and HIV infections in the country.
“Most of the teenage pregnancies, according to the research, are as a result of incest,” Ms. Muthomi lamented.
“The only solution to these threats is by holding candid conversations with the children, reporting the matter to the authorities, and escalating to higher levels if there is no action taken. If the chief does not act, seek assistance from the police or even the Deputy County Commissioner. Gone are the days when parents were ashamed of teaching sex education and reproductive health to their children,” added the County First Lady.
She further disclosed that in some parts of the county, there are still people conducting Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and this poses a big threat to the health and lives of those children who undergo the cut.
NSDCC CEO Dr. Ruth Masha said that the triple threat, especially adolescent pregnancies, infringe on young people’s fundamental rights to complete education, leading to the loss of economic opportunities.
Dr. Masha underscored the fact that the body no longer tolerates “Kangaroo courts” and will take into account anybody holding talks or meetings with a perpetrator without taking that person before the court of law. I will ensure that findings from the headquarters in Nairobi are used at the community level to help people living with the triple threats. I will work with Community Health Volunteers among other people, to ensure that they are eliminated,” said the CEO.
The Director General, National Council of Population Development (NCPD), highlighted the national pandemics and their efforts in tackling them, as they are multi-faceted and affect everyone around them.
“Together with the other government agencies that include the National Government Administration Officers (NGAO), the NSDCC, the anti-FGM body, and the community, we are applying a multi-sectoral approach to tackle this deadly problem. At the county level, we have a coordinated mechanism chaired by the county commissioners,” Dr. Mohammed disclosed.
The event, which was held at Chuka Picnic Grounds, was attended by gender-based violence survivors, HIV survivors, young mothers, and other stakeholders in Tharaka Nithi and neighboring counties.
Dialogue forums were held, in which they shared their different opinions on the triple threats and also discussed their individual roles in ending the threats.
The National Syndemic Diseases Control Council (NSDCC) is a state corporation established under Section 3 of the State Corporations Act, Cap 446, through the National AIDS Control Council Order, 1999, as amended by legal notice number 143 of 2022. The Council is mandated to manage the following syndemic diseases: HIV, sexually transmitted infections, malaria, leprosy, tuberculosis, and lung disease.
By David Mutwiri and Beatrice Mwende