HOW VISIBLE ARE OUR YOUTH FRIENDLY SERVICES (YFS) CENTRES TO THE YOUTH?

The COVID 19 pandemic that we are currently experiencing has presented the entire Country with challenges , barriers as well as lessons that will drive the country’s growth going forward.

We therefore need to wake up and ensure that our systems are operational and are being fully implemented especially at the grassroots level in order to strengthen the already existing structures.

As we all know ,in the past few months when many have been staying at home in a bid to limit the spread of corona virus, increased cases of Sexual and Gender Based (SGBV) Violence in form of Rape ,Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Early forced marriages have been reported.

The overall result has been escalated cases of teen pregnancies.

With each passing day , these numbers are significantly rising and this leaves a question of: Where are we going wrong?

Women and girls who are the most vulnerable especially during this period of COVID19 pandemic are being preyed on.

With so much focus shifted to curbing increase in infections,we are slowly losing the gains we have made so far in addressing the sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls in Kenya.


Moreover, over the past few weeks, I have held conversations with victims of such cases and one of the things that I have been concentrating on is; HOW VISIBLE ARE the Youth Friendly Services (YFS) being provided within existing standalone or integrated health facilities or CENTRES?


I came to a sad realization that many youths/teens especially in the rural areas are neither aware of the existence of YFS nor have they heard of such,leave alone the services they offer.

Also, the active centres are not so visible and reliable.

Having in mind that these are centres where we, as young people need to seek help on matters Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) ,them remaining invisible means that more cases will be recorded.

Many youths in the village do not know where to get knowledge on contraceptive services that are instrumental in mitigating the menace of Teen Pregnancies.

YFS centres are established to be youth friendly and therefore all youths need to be made aware that they can have such places where help can be offered.

I call upon all of us, SRHR advocates and other agencies in the same field to push for the visibility of our YFS centres!

Let us mobilise ourselves, reach out to the stakeholders and push them in equiping these centres with proffesionals, relevant materials and of all, MAKE THEM VISIBLE.

Let us help our teens to know where to get help when faced with SRH issues make them aware of their SRH rights, this way, we will be on the right track.

Its our duty, a collective duty!

*The writter is a SRHR Advocate*

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