Monday, 21 August 2017

Those Responsible for Provision of SRHR Information should be Answerable to Increased Teen Pregnancies.

After getting pregnant in her early teens, Farida (not real name) thought that this marked the end of the world. Fari, as her friends used to call her, couldn’t think of anything apart from just staying at home, sleep, watch kids play in the backyard and all sorts of easy things and some slothful activities. The thought of taking her life did not cross her mind only once but numerous times. Her fear and stress were mainly triggered by what people will say and what his father will do to her as he had said several times that he will operate any girl who will fall pregnant under her parents’ roof.

Time came when Farida could no longer hide her pregnancy.  The question her parents had was how their daughter could fall pregnant with all the pieces of advice they bombarded her with day-in-day-out. What went wrong?

Farida grew up in environment where she could interact with her parents and was able to ask several questions. The parents were able to explain every phenomena but they were unable to open up when on issues to do with Sexual Reproductive Health.

While at school the little girl fell in love with a boy whom at one point in the relationship, the two had sex. Two months down the line, she did not realise that missing her periods twice could be a sign of pregnancy. In fact, she was happy that she had stopped menstruating. Of ourse she was later told by an older friend that is when she thought it wise to hide the pregnancy until she finds a way out - and so she thought

Upon noticing the changes on their daughter, Farida’s parents called her for questioning. The little girl didn’t know what to say and remained quiet like a book on a library shelf. Words escaped her and she just kept on looking at her mother’s bewildered face.  They took her to the hospital for pregnancy test where the parents’ fear was confirmed.

Here is the saddest part; Farida’s male counterpart who was responsible for the pregnancy decided to apply a permanent solution to what he thought was spark that will set the whole world on fire and terminate its existence.

The nurse who did the examination on her had to counsel the girl. It was in this counselling session where it was known that the girl did not know that when a girl starts experiencing monthly periods she can get pregnant once she indulges in unprotect sex. Little did she also know what safe sex means and the thought that she could get STIs including HIV through unsafe sex seemed to have never crossed her mind.

Things turned out very well for Farida. Her father was properly counselled as well and he understood the role he had to ensure that Farida’s dreams are rekindled and achieved. Today, as I am writing this article, Farida is no longer the sad one you have been seeing in the eye of your mind. She went back to school and her hard work and dedication paid off and she is able to support her child.

Parents, health care workers, faith leaders, aunties and uncles, youth workers e.t.c are responsible for ensuring that young people are given access to age appropriate sexual reproductive health information. Young people really need that kind of information for them to make informed decisions. Such people are the first to blame young girls and boys whenever the boy or girl has faced a sexual reproductive health challenge. Who should be blamed here? The one who is  supposed to provide guidance or the one who falls into a pit because he or she was not told that there is a pit along the path?

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