Adolescents (10-19 years) and young people (20-24 years) constitute 18% and 26% of the world population respectively. Investing in the health of young people is essential for the economic and social development of any nation. In 2012, an estimated 780,000 youth aged 15-24 were newly infected with HIV, with 97% of the new infections occurring in low and middle income countries. Young people from sub-Saharan Africa are even more at risk of experiencing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) problems than other youth from around the world. The highest adolescent childbearing rates are seen in Africa where young people also have the highest unmet need for contraception and education on sexual and reproductive health.
Kenya is faced with a rapidly growing young population with an annual growth rate of 3% per annum (KDHS 2009). It has a broad based population structure with 63% of the population below 25 years. Similarly, 32% of the population is aged between 10-24 years; also 41% of women and 43% of men of reproductive age (15-49) are below 25 years of age. The rapid population growth coupled with large proportion of young people in the country puts great demands on health care, water and sanitation. With inadequate attention to the Sexual Reproductive Health needs of this age group of the population, Kenya is unlikely to achieve the Vision 2030 (FHI360 2011).
Transition to adulthood for adolescents is marked by numerous sexual and reproductive health (SRH) challenges that heighten their risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortion and sexual violence. Other indirect problems, include, lack of parental guidance on sexuality, poverty and unemployment, and drug and substance abuse.
ICL’s interventions target to reach adolescents and youth using a holistic approach. ICL realizes that for lasting health outcomes, interventions need to integrate social determinants of health such as education, economic, leadership factors among others including creation of an enabling environment to support effective interventions in the counties and country.
Communities play a greater role to mobilize and support uptake of comprehensive integrated SRH services during health drives and outreaches. It is against this backdrop that ICL seeks to focus in reduction of morbidity and mortality arising from SRH and HIV effects among the children, adolescents, young people and communities at large. Our guiding focus is to strength health sector in view of Kenya Vision 2030, of seeking to provide an efficient integrated and high quality affordable health care to all citizens.