Time has ripe for the youth to be included in family planning, an important aspect of reproductive health, which enables individuals and couples to make good decisions about the number of children they need.
This is a human right that should be enjoyed by everyone, including young people. However, despite the benefits of family planning, many youths are unaware of its importance or do not have access to it.
The decisions they make, including about sex and reproductive health, affect their lives. But collectively, their decisions will also influence global health, population, and development throughout the 21st century. Young people often cannot make informed decisions about reproductive health.
Many lack access to education and information regarding family planning and reproductive health. That is why family planning is an issue we should all care about. When a young woman gets pregnant before she turns 20, it can rob her of the chance to live her healthiest and most productive life.
A teenager who becomes pregnant faces a higher risk of infections. In low- and middle-income countries, complications in pregnancy and childbirth are a leading cause of death among adolescents. Thousands of young women survive childbirth but suffer from pregnancy-related health issues for the rest of their lives. Unplanned pregnancy disrupts young women's plans in many other ways. Adolescents who become pregnant often drop out of school, wasting their lifelong earnings and trapping their families in an inter-generational cycle of poverty.
Involving youth in family planning will help to ensure that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.
Also, involving their youth in family planning will help to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions, which can have serious health consequences for young women.
Then, involving youth in family planning will also promote gender equality by encouraging young women to take control of their reproductive health. To achieve this, we need to provide young people with accurate information about family planning, access to contraceptives, and access to reproductive health services, ensuring they live healthy and fulfilling lives.
Mr Ngotiek is a youth advocate at Naya Kenya