From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste

Gerald from Nairobi writes: Fr Beste I agree with nominated senator Sejenyi that school children should be given contraceptives. I am sure you read yesterday in one of the daily newspapers how the Principal of Butula School decrying the increasing number of unwanted pregnancies and procurement of abortion among female students at his school.

St Romano’s Tingolo mixed secondary school in Butula constituency of Busia County has this year had six female students drop out of school due to pregnancy related issues. Some of the pregnancies have been caused by the teachers at the school, while others are student to student.

This is not the first time that this school has been affected by cases of unwanted pregnancies. In previous years, form four students were highly affected but this year they have had students from form one to four being affected at an alarming rate.

This is just one case. You have heard of many cases where Primary pupils even as earlier as 13 years old getting pregnant. Fr Beste let us not pretend. Time has come that we must help our girls by providing them with contraceptives, including condoms.

This is just for curiosity Beste. Is it true that ongoing polio vaccination is aimed at reducing population as catholic bishops have alleged? If it is true, do you think the government of Kenya is aware of this, and if they are how can they allow something like that? Thank you.”

Thank you for being sincere Gerald. I don’t agree with you that giving school children contraceptives, including condoms will help curb school pregnancies. Even in United Kingdom where contraception services are free, including for people under 16 years old, school pregnancies still take place.

According to the UK law the doctor or nurse won’t tell your parents, or anyone else, as long as they believe that you’re mature enough to understand the information and decisions involved in using the contraceptives. Sex education and how to use contraceptives are taught in schools.

They are taught that latex condoms used consistently and correctly do not only prevent pregnancy but also reduce your risk of becoming infected with HIV infections. Latex condoms are free to any UK student and are available in the health educator’s office, University Health Services.

Your second question is very difficult justify, even though time immemorial, vaccination drives are met with suspicion and protests driven by arguments that they are a way to control population or affect sex drives.

One of the latest of such protests include the recent move by the Catholic bishops demanding answers about a national tetanus vaccine programme they claim is a ‘secret’ government move to introduce birth control.

The catholic bishops claim the government is using a birth control agent covertly mixed in the vaccine. The church went ahead and advised their members — expectant women — not to go for the jab.

The clergy claimed their fears were based on ‘stories’ from other countries. “Information in the public domain which indicates that Tetanus Toxoid vaccine (TT) laced with Beta human chorionic gonadotropin (b-HCG) sub unit which has been used in Philippines, Nicaragua and Mexico to vaccinate women against future pregnancy. Beta HCG sub unit is a hormone necessary for pregnancy.

It is not only in Kenya where such suspicions of vaccinations have been going on. In 2004 false rumors and allegations spread throughout the Northern Nigerian state of Kano that the polio vaccine contained birth control drugs as part of a secret western plot to reduce population growth in the Muslim world.

Another misconception is that the jabs are a family planning method that will ultimately stop the children from giving birth when they want to. But all these are very difficult to verify. Government of Kenya cannot stop the exercise based on speculations and rumors.

Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578
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