Rita (an Alias) of Northern Kenya
"Access to family planning could reduce maternal deaths by 25 to 40 percent and child deaths by as much as 20 percent." World Bank, 2009
Rita (an Alias) of Nothern Kenya
For public platforms use Rita (an Alias) of Northern Kenya
Rita is only 14 years old. She came to our clinic late at night to get the 5-year contraception implant inserted into her arm. Not surprisingly, Rita's mother brought her to our clinic in secret. Neither wanted Rita's father to know that she was getting birth control. While with us, Rita shared that she wanted the implant because in the last six months she has had two abortions. Both abortions were conducted in the bush, in secret, by an unlicensed/untrained community member. She did not want to talk about the process that she endured, only to say that it was "horrible" and that she didn’t want to do it again. She viewed CHAT's mobile health clinic as her only hope to avoid another pregnancy.
By way of background, Rita is sexually active with one boyfriend. Unfortunatley, it is still part of the Samburu tradition that if a young warrior gives a girl red beads, he is considered her "boyfriend, and as such, entitled to engage in sexual relations with her whenever he pleases. This sexual activity is conducted with the parents’ consent. However, it is very common for the warriors to have more than one "girlfriend". What is difficult for Rita is that in the Samburu culture, it is considered taboo for a warrior to marry his "girlfriend." Tradition will only allow her warrior boyfriend to use her sexually until he is ready to marry. Once ready, the warrior will then go in search for a woman suitable to be his wife.
Needless to say, this cultural phenomenon poses a huge problem for young Samburu girls. Through exposure to unsafe sex with men who have many sexual partners, girls like Rita are forced to put themselves at risk of contracting devastating sexually transmitted infections/diseases--up to and including HIV/AIDS. But perhaps even more worryingly, if a girl in this tradition accidentally gets pregnant, and has a child out of wedlock, she will not be able to marry at all in her lifetime. Sadly, this cultural reality results in a very high rate of abortions in young Samburu girls--most of whom are carried out in secret and performed under brutal conditions by an unlicensed/untrained community member.
Your generous donation can help reduce these unwanted pregnancies by providing much needed Family Planning options to many more women in Kenya! Please donate today to help these women make a better life for themselves!