President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered county commissioners to carry out a nationwide crackdown on private clinics offering emergency contraceptives to underage girls.
The President says such practitioners are inculcating a culture of sexual promiscuity for sex pests, who procure such services for the girls, and providing “sexual insurance” for the minors.
Education Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Zack Kinuthia said Mr Kenyatta, in search of a long lasting solution against teenage pregnancies, abortions and runway sexual promiscuity, identified the threat that unscrupulous medical practitioners pose to the future of many girls.
“It it is not in any Kenyan law that minors access family planning health services since planning is about those in legally recognised marital unions,” said Mr Kinuthia
“The President has [told] us that adult males who engage in criminal sex with minors get hiding places in emergency contraceptives, and procure family planning injections and pills for minors, making sexual briefs with them a ‘safe’ lifestyle,” he said.
Mr Kinuthia cited injectables, oral, intrauterine and female voluntary surgical methods, the Norplant, vaginal barriers and spermicides as the most common types of contraceptives minors are accessing.
He said the President was cognizant of the fact that the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Board is mandated to regulate safe modus operandi in the health sector, “but that is not to say we will not hesitate to infer criminal culpability against any in the health sector engaging in rogue activities in the bodies of our small girls or any other human for that matter”.
Mr Kinuthia announced that the Ministry of Education will partner with security organs to ensure the President’s directive is enforced to the letter.
“We will rely on our intelligence officers to keep tabs with happenings in the health sector,” he said.
“We will be hard on any county commissioner and his team should we get verifiable reports that minor girls are being given access to family planning services. That will not be acceptable at all costs.”
He noted that some health professionals offer illegal female genital mutilation services to minors hence increased vigilance by the government, that has seen traditional mutilators close shop.
Murang’a County Director of Health, Dr Winnie Kanyi, said President Kenyatta is spot-on about the issue.
“There has been too much over-the-counter procurement of health services regarding contraceptives,” Dr Kanyi noted.
She said the way forward is for all women needing reproductive health services to go to government health facilities.
“We are not saying minors should not get reproductive health services. Even counselling is part of such services,” she said.
“Ideally, we have a moral and professional duty to sensitise even minors on these reproductive health issues, but that is not to say we should make the issue fertile ground for moral decadence.”