Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) information and services is a fundamental human right. It is often overlooked in many patriarchal societies where sociocultural and economic factors limit young girls and women from making healthy choices. This results in poor SRH outcomes such as exposure to STIs like HIV, sexual violence, undesired and unsafe pregnancies and abortions. Marginalized girls and women may lack access to basic information, support and empowerment that is directly linked to their vulnerability. Rapid population growth in developing countries places marginalized communities at more risk, therefore presenting a bigger problem. Female voices are muzzled in determining their own reproductive health outcomes in issues such as condom or contraceptive use and determining healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies.
Consequently, there is need for action to conquer these challenges. For women to safeguard their sexual and reproductive health, they need to have the proper weapon-knowledge. This will require one to keenly study and master all issues pertaining human sexuality i.e. sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction process, sexual activities, reproductive health rights and responsibilities. There is also need to empower women with knowledge of sexual violence, emotional relations, contraceptive use, proper maternal nutrition, safe abortions and sexually transmitted diseases. We cannot ignore the role of men as household heads hence women must be empowered to use their persuasive skills to increase male involvement in family planning and mutual decision-making in matters concerning their reproductive health.
Young girls approaching adolescence need to be aware of proper hygienic practices such as daily baths, changing inner wears, proper wiping of oneself after urinating or long call i.e. from the from to back. Menstrual hygiene practices such as washing hands before changing tampons and menstrual cups, changing menstrual products on time, using clean facilities, washing vaginal area adequately to reduce cases of infections, rashes and discomfort. Preventive education promotes knowledge of detection and management of reproductive related diseases such as cervical, breast and prostate cancers.
RRHIK is actively involved in combating these problems by providing the urgently needed SRH information, promoting access to services and resources in marginalized areas of Kenya. Our activities are geared towards empowering girls and women to make the right healthy choices. This is in line with the Post 2015 Agenda for sustainability of the millennium development goals; in terms of reducing child and maternal mortality, fighting HIV, TB and related diseases and mainstreaming gender equity in the Health sector for improved outcomes.