Teenage girls are using Coke and lemon to clean their private parts after sex to avoid getting pregnant. This, notwithstanding the fact that they are risking their reproductive health.
Youth Changers Kenya Founder Ms Venoranda Rebecca revealed this during a webinar on Safeguarding Children and Adolescents against Violence organised by Youth Agenda, last month.
In her work, she has engaged with girls who confess using rather damaging ways to avoid pregnancy.
“Some will tell you if I have sex and put lemon or Coke in my vagina, I’ll not get pregnant. They wash away sperms,” she said.
“Others say if I stay without having sex, I will rust or grow cobwebs,” she added.
This kind of misinformation, she said, can be addressed through provision of age-appropriate sexuality education.
She exemplified Netherlands where children are exposed to sexuality education and as such prevalence of teenage pregnancies is low.
The Dutch government begins sex education in pre-school and has integrated it at all levels and subjects of schooling. According to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, its teen birth rates stand at 4.8 per 1,000 births.
“It is very important to understand that sexuality education does not predispose young people to engage in sex, but empowers them with information on their rights. They are then able to make the right decisions,” said Ms Rebecca.
Kenya is one of the 20 countries that signed a 2013 ministerial commitment on comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents and young people in Eastern and Southern African.
The ministerial meeting held in Cape Town, South Africa was attended by education and health ministers.
How to implement this agreement, however, has been a major challenge as different stakeholders, especially the clergy hold radical views on sexuality education and access to reproductive health services.
On the other hand, studies have established the harmful effects of cleaning the vagina with corrosive or irritating products.
An article A Question for Women’s Health: Chemicals in Feminine Hygiene Products and Personal Lubricants published on National Centre for Biotechnology Information cites studies that have found that certain chemicals including glycerine, can damage or irritate vaginal and rectal epithelial cells thus increasing one’s risk to transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and human immunodeficiency virus.
By Nation Africa