Kenya is losing a high number of its youth to AIDS, as revealed by a new report which has listed AIDS as the number one cause of death and disability among young people in the country between the ages of 10-24 years.
According to THE REPORT ON ADOLESCENT HEALTH AND WELLBEING, which was published as part of a broader survey by the Lancet Commission a total of 2,531 youths between the age of 15 and 19 died in 2013, followed by 2,398 between 10 and 14 years and 1,719 between 20 and 24 years.
Apparently, there are at least 195,299 adolescents on anti-retroviral treatment according to statistics given by the health ministry, with another 315,000 who need ARVs.
Although the study attributes the rising new infections among the youth to early sex, where 20% of the youths between 15 and 24 are said to have had their first sex encounter before their 13th birthday, it also blames the situation to early childhood infections as there are 11,000 new cases of HIV in children.
The annual new infections among children aged between 0 and 14 years is 12,511, while for those above 14 but less than 25 years is 13,148.
Diarrhea is listed second after HIV/AIDs as another cause of premature death among adolescents is especially among those between 10 and 14 years.
Diarrhea is however falls third after tuberculosis as the biggest killer among youth aged between 20 and 24 years.
The study lists other causes of deaths as interpersonal violence, suicide, depression, road accidents and malaria.
INVEST URGENTLY IN THE HEALTH OF ADOLESCENTS
The report says that the situation is as a result of chronic under investment in the protection, health and well-being of the 1.8 billion young people aged between 10 and 24 and who now make up a quarter of the global population.
Lancet’s commission lead author prof George patton of the university of Melbourne, Australia has urged for an urgent intervention in the situation.
“This means it will be crucial to invest urgently in their health, education, livelihoods, and participation,” he says in the report.
The study says that the Commission’s findings should be a wake-up call for major new investment in the largest generation of adolescents in the world’s history (1.8 billion) that will yield a triple dividend of benefits — today, into adulthood, and for the next generation of children.
“This generation of young people can transform all our futures. There is no more pressing task in global health than ensuring they have the resources to do so. This means it will be crucial to invest urgently in their health, education, livelihoods, and participation,” said Professor George Patton, University of Melbourne, Australia.