Parents Challenged To Be Vigilant With Teenagers As HIV Infections Rise In Bungoma


It is very sad that with the rise in teenagers engaging in unsafe sexual intercourse, we now have 2 new HIV infections each day in Bungoma County

By Isabella Maua

Parents and guardians in Bungoma County have been called upon to exercise deliberate parenting to curb the high rate of new HIV infections among teenagers in the region.

This was arrived at in Kapsokwony, Mt. Elgon Sub County, during an interdenominational gender-based violence review meeting held by the Kenya Red Cross Bungoma on Friday.

According to the report shared by Dr. Jesse Wamocho, who works with Bungoma County, the rate at which adolescents are engaging in unsafe sexual activities within the county has escalated to an alarming rate.

Dr. Wamocho observed, “It is very sad that with the rise in teenagers engaging in unsafe sexual intercourse, we now have 2 new HIV infections each day in Bungoma County.”

He cited an example where a 10-year-old girl was diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection, only for her to divulge that she had had unprotected sex with five different men within a span of one week.

“After thorough interrogation, the girl, who was noticeably oblivious to the consequences of her action, revealed that she had sexual intercourse with her maternal uncle and some other neighbours who had known about her relationship with the uncle, all in the quest to buy their silence,” expounded Dr. Wamocho.

According to Reverend Richard Mang’usho of Kapsokwony AIC Church, not only has the church failed to expand its teachings right from Sunday school, but parents have also failed in their part by using backward culture as a scapegoat.

“Most of the time, our efforts as church leaders to educate children and teenagers have been faulted by the community, citing that it’s taboo to do so; definitely, these are the results of our silence on this crucially sensitive topic,” noted Rev. Mang’usho.

Christine Muyala from Mt. Elgon Sub County Hospital highlighted absence of gender equity and gender equality as the main causes of most reported cases in Mt. Elgon.

“With the current rise of femicide cases in Kenya, we need to sensitise our community, especially girls and women, by instilling self-awareness and knowledge in them so that they cease living beyond their means and avoid peer pressure influence,” noted Muyala.

Additionally, the clergy were challenged to keep enlightening their congregation on matters of defilement and rape cases, which still prove to be a thorn in the flesh.

“We are grateful that your efforts to bring down GBV cases have bore noticeable fruits. From all your shared experiences, indeed, families have been restored. Go a notch higher this year,” commended Dr. Wamocho.

He referred to a recent Mechimeru incident where a mother failed to notice that her 10-year-old daughter had been defiled by her stepfather.

“The girl who was defiled by the husband of her mother and threatened to be killed if she disclosed her misery was kept to herself for 14 weeks and was rushed to the hospital, where we ascertained she had developed fistula; however, she’s now recuperating,” revealed Dr. Wamocho.

It was emphasised that the community should be told the importance of reporting any GBV cases within the stipulated 72 hours so as to enable the collection of evidence from the survivor and ease the identification of the perpetrator.

Conclusively, the clergy were called upon to guide their congregants and society at large on misleading religions, which are mostly influenced by a lack of political good will and ignorance among the people.

The meeting was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Finland.

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