AYSRH Champion in Kilifi County, Kenya, Helps TCI Battle Teenage Pregnancy

by | Sep 19, 2019

Ken Miriti was inspired to become a AYSRH champion after receiving positive feedback from young women and men when he was a youth counselor.

Kilifi County, Kenya, has a teenage pregnancy rate that remains stubbornly high. Despite efforts by various stakeholders to find solutions, many school-age girls still find themselves pregnant. While an estimated 18.4% of girls ages 15-19 across Kenya have begun child bearing, 21.8% have begun child bearing in Kilifi.

A few months ago, Ken Miriti became the first County Adolescent and Youth Reproductive Health Coordinator for Kilifi County. In 2016, Miriti began working with adolescents and youths where he experienced firsthand the perils of young girls as young as eleven years of age having children. In the beginning, he felt helpless because apparently no one was listening to these young people. But, after receiving positive feedback from the youth he counseled on contraception and HIV, he discovered his calling.

“Sometimes when I go to the communities, some women from nowhere will call me saying, ‘Ken, come and talk to our sons and daughters – see the ones you talked to have now finished school and none is a father or mother,'” Miriti said.

He added that, sometimes when he goes to universities, the youth say, “Ken, do you know you saved my life?”

Miriti has been instrumental in setting up strategies and policy documents such as the recently launched Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health (AYSRH) Strategic Framework (2019-2022) to address AYSRH as well as HIV and gender-based violence, which has had a remarkable impact on the provision of multi-faceted services targeting adolescents and youths. With the strategy now being implemented, he hopes to see more adolescents and youths receiving quality services in all of the county’s public facilities.

“Ken is passionate and focused on provision of solutions to address the teen pregnancy challenges in the county. Ken will now help us operationalize the strategy by supporting coordination, and promoting collaboration across departments and partners, says Dr. Anisa Omar, the Kilifi County Executive of Health.

Therefore, when The Challenge Initiative (TCI) – locally implemented as Tupange Pamoja – introduced an AYSRH component into the existing family planning program, Dr. Omar knew Miriti was just the man to run the program successfully. Tupange Pamoja has been working in Kilifi County since July 2017 to help scale-up proven reproductive health interventions.

The video below provides additional voices – including Amason Kingi, Kilifi County’s governor – related to TCI’s efforts to reduce teenage pregnancy in Kilifi County.