First Lady pitches for continental conference on Sexual health rights

margaret Kenyatta

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta  wants the next African Conference on Sexual Health Rights (ACSHR) be held in Kenya in 2020.

The conference is held ever four years and Kenya last hosted the continental meeting in 2006 .

The request to hold the 8th ACSHR was made early this year when the First Lady officially closed the 7th meeting in Accra Ghana.

The concern by the First Lady on the importance of this conference is brought about by the plight of adolescent girls , the increase in teenage pregnancies and vulnerability of this age group in HIV and AIDS.

On Wednesday, the First Lady opened the three day Conference organized by the National Organization of Peer Educators (NOPE) where it was noted that adolescents between 15-24 years were at the highest risky in HIV and AIDS infections.

The forthcoming 8th ACSHR conference hopes to ensure that this age group is not left behind and further rally support at a continental level the  issues and challenges over  teenage pregnancies.

These issues came out today when the First Lady hosted at  State  House officials from the African Population and Health Research Centre ( APHRC , based in Kenya) and the Action Health Incorporated (AHI).

Dr Esiet Uwemedimo from  AHI commended the First Lady for her demonstrated interest,  enthusiasm and energy to address  the plight of women and girls through the Beyond Zero initiative.

He recommended that the First Lady officially  becomes the African voice in articulating and championing the issues of adolescent girls across the continent.

“Count me in”, responded the First Lady when asked to respond on the request of becoming the African voice on health issues related to adolescent, maternal  and child  health.

Dr. Esiet said the girls must be put on the continental agenda in development adding that the First Lady was the best placed to articulate and provide leadership at all levels.

Principal Secretary for Health Dr. Nicholas Muraguri underpinned the importance of the ACSHR conference in the current work that the Ministry is undertaking in the slums across the country which he said are the most neglected, hard to reach, and hard hit by new HIV infections.

The PS  said the Ministry’s  work in the slums has been  informed  by evidence-based research provided by the  APHRC which has ensured better catchment and timely provision of services to the residents of the slums.

National Aids Control Council Director Dr. Nduku Kilonzo highlighted the worrying indicators of new HIV infections  among adolescent girls  and singled out Wajir, Mandera and Busia as some of the hardest hit Counties.

She recommended a thorough review of the curriculum to incorporate a comprehensive health approach as a long term intervention.

She singled out Uganda as one of the countries that have successfully mainstreamed and helped  fast-track the process of ensuring that girls stay and complete   formal school programs.

She said NACC has developed a new digital platform where youth can engage and interact comfortably on issues around sexuality and sexual related diseases, away from the more conventional adult approach.

She recommended that the 2020 ACSHR conference should align itself to common outcomes which would strengthen  the agenda of policy, advocacy and awareness.

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