Unsafe sex ‘killing more than cancer’
Posted Thursday, May 31 2012 at 22:30
Diseases contracted through unprotected sex have been identified as the biggest killers of Kenyans, responsible for almost three out of every 10 deaths.
According to the two ministries of Health, a Kenyan practising unprotected sex is many times more likely to die than one driving along Thika Road.
In a new Health Policy document covering the period 2012-2030, unprotected sex is more dangerous than alcohol, smoking or even cancer.
Of all risk factors that expose Kenyans to disease, injury or death, nothing comes closer to unprotected sex at 29.7 per cent followed by unsafe water, hygiene and sanitation at five per cent.
About 1.8 million married women have unplanned births every year, according to Dr Boniface K’Oyugi, the director general of the National Coordinating Agency for Population and Development.
These unplanned births mean more mouths to feed and end up increasing food shortages in the country.
Already, the Ministry of Agriculture has been forced to revise its annual maize consumption estimates from 36 million bags to 43 million bags to cater for the increase in population.
The good news is that the ministries of Medical Services and Public Health and Sanitation have promised Kenyans that within the next 18 years, deaths from all causes will be reduced by a half.
The new policy document commits to reduce ill health to “levels similar to those of middle income countries like Argentina, Brazil, Egypt and Indonesia.”
This, it says, will be achieved through a radical departure from the past approaches in addressing the health challenges.
The ministries say by the deadline of Vision 2030, the current estimated 420,000 annual deaths will have been reduced to 290,000, if things are done differently.
By then, the government promises, Kenya’s life expectancy will have risen from the current 60 years to 70, just like in Brazil and Egypt.
“By then, we shall have reduced the burden of communicable diseases, such as HIV, malaria and diarrhoea till they are not a major public health concern,” says the policy.
At the same time, the ministries lament that little progress has so far been made in meeting health-related Millennium Development Goals.
“There is no progress towards improving maternal health, and only limited progress in eradicating extreme poverty and hunger.”