Wednesday, 12 November 2008

KENYA: State Set to Improve Reproductive Health Services

NAIROBI, July 29, 2008 (CISA) -The government will embark on improving reproductive health services around the country, according a new policy which was launched recently.But the policy states that reproductive health rights must be enjoyed “within the context of the law.”Some non-governmental organizations are agitating for inclusion of abortion on demand among reproductive health rights. Abortion is illegal in the country, except in limited circumstances.The priority areas of the new policy are safe motherhood, maternal and neonatal health, sexually transmitted infections and family planning. Other areas are adolescent reproductive health, gender and reproductive rights, infertility and the reproductive health needs of the elderly.The government will ensure that all women, including adolescents and youth, have access to reproductive health information, counseling and other services. It will also ensure that all pregnant women, the poor and the ‘hard-to-reach’ have access to skilled care.Other action points of the new policy include integrating HIV/AIDS information and services into all reproductive health services at all levels, enhancing community awareness on impacts of Reproductive Tract Infections on women and men, encouraging research and information generation and ensuring control of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s) prevention and control.The government will also promote and create awareness on the elimination of all forms of violence and discrimination against elderly persons and increase availability of quality services for prevention of cancers of the reproductive organs.The new policy provides for ensuring access to rehabilitative services for those affected by harmful practices and gender-based violence and promoting empowerment of women in reproductive health decision-making.During the launch of the document, Dr Josephine Kibaru, Head of the Division for Reproductive Health, said, “Reproductive health is one of the most neglected programmes in country and there is inadequate information on sexual and reproductive health issues.”

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