The National Syndemic Disease Control Council (NSDCC) and the Siaya County government has launched the programme aimed at reducing the increasing number of HIV infections, teenage pregnancies, and GBV.
Siaya County Commissioner Jim Njoka who chaired the committee meeting in his Office in Siaya town warned against the use of kangaroo courts to settle matters of GBV and teenage pregnancies including early marriages and said these matters should be handled by the responsible authorities such as the police and law courts.
“When young girls are denied the opportunity to enjoy childhood and married off or become mothers as early as 12 years old then we are destroying our societies and the future generations, we need to put an end to such cases as early as yesterday and that is why we are committed to this triple threat campaign,” said Njoka.
According to data from Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2020, Siaya county’s teenage pregnancies were highest in adolescents between 15-19 years with 7,409 cases while 10-14 years had 349 recorded cases.
National Aids Control 2018 Report on Kenya’s HIV estimates ranked Siaya as the county with the highest prevalence rate of 21 per cent in the nation with an estimated 123,000 people living with HIV, and 4000 new HIV infections annually.
The National Syndemic Diseases Control Council formerly known as the National Aids Control Council has begun conducting multi-sectoral committee meetings with partners and stakeholders at County levels for a sensitization campaign to be kicked off in Siaya in the coming weeks.
The campaigns are aimed at addressing what has been dubbed as Triple Threat, pooling together Gender Based Violence, HIV and Teenage pregnancies.
Cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) have recently been on the rise in the country and becoming a persistent menace to the nation more so to women and girls who often suffer in silence.
GBV is outlawed as a criminal offense but frequently remains in the shadows and behind closed doors as many survivors hardly report or retract their complaints in out of court settlements or at community and family levels according to Kenya Crime Research Institute report of 2014.
While the country is grappling with societal issues such as GBV, rising incidences related to mental health such as suicides, killings between lovers and spouses over disagreements, a multi sectoral approach in identification, sensitization and prevention of the causative factors to these issues has been established and deployed in all 47 counties.
By Calvin Otieno