Reproductive health lobby groups in Nakuru have called on the County Assembly of Nakuru to expedite the Maternal Newborn Adolescent and Child Health Bill 2019.
Led by Reproductive Health Youth Friendly and Environmental Conservation (RHYFE) under the umbrella KELIN Kenya, the groups have questioned why the Bill has taken long to materialize since 2014.
Martin Lunalo from RHYFE reiterates the importance of the Bill towards realization of access to comprehensive Sexual Reproductive Health and maternal Services.
Speaking after holding a peaceful demonstration in the streets of Nakuru Town to the County assembly of Nakuru where they handed a memorandum of Understanding over the same, Lunalo faulted Nakuru MCAs for rejecting the Bill on claims that it advocates for abortion.
He said the Bill was misunderstood by the MCAs who had very little time to go through and understand the content after the Bill was subjected to Public participation and residents endorsed it.
Lunalo also took issue with the County assembly committee on health that is chaired by MCA Njuguna Mwaura for not coming out clearly with information on why the Bill was rejected at second reading.
He added that the only way to address the rising cases of teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortions and maternal mortalities is to ensure that legislation framework to address the same.
“We have seen increased number of teenage pregnancies in this county, increased maternal mortalities as well as unsafe abortions simply because the MCAs since 2014 have failed to legislate a law that can address the same. I would like to know why the assembly is so reluctant to pass the Maternal Newborn Adolescent and Child Health Bill 2019 and safeguard the rights of the women and girls” said Lunalo.
Sentiments echoed by Caren Achieng who stated that women have been going through a lot of difficulties in accessing comprehensive Sexual Reproductive Health and maternal Services due to lack of legal framework in place in Nakuru County.
She urged female MCAs in the County assembly of Nakuru to take lead in advocating for the rights of women and ensure they drum support for the materialization of the Bill.
“We are here as women to demand that our rights be respected on matters of health. Let the female MCAs come out and rally behind the Bill for it also concerns them” said Ms Achieng.
Vincent Omollo from RHYFE also called on MCAs to expedite the Bill inorder to address the challenges women and girls have been facing in Nakuru County.
Omollo said as Pro-Sexual Reproductive Health Services Champions in Nakuru County, they will not relent in pushing for the legislation to safeguard the rights of women in the county.
“This Bill is in favor of women and girls. We shall not relent in pushing for its passage” said Omollo.
But in a quick rejoinder through phone interview, Nakuru County assembly Health Committee chair Njuguna Mwaura faulted the lobby groups for holding demonstrations over a matter that was already before the committee.
He added that the committee was already on top of the matter but such demos will derail the process.
“Let the lobby groups know that we have procedures and as a committee we were working on the Bill before we went to recess. But with such demos I am afraid we might not address the Bill anymore” said Njuguna.