Findings stir debate on lifestyle diseases
The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) met Members of Parliament on June 28, 2011, to discuss findings on early transition to sex and cardiovascular diseases.
The forum, organized by the center's Policy Engagement and Communication team, provided an opportunity for APHRC to share its research findings. The MPs, drawn from various committees of the House, included Hon James Rege, Hon Joshua Kutuny, Hon Ekwee Ethuro, Hon Charles Keter and Medical Services Assistant Minister Kazungu Kambi.
Dr Catherine Kyobutungi, APHRC's Head of Health Systems and Challenges theme, provided insight into the growth of cardiovascular diseases, previously associated with the affluent in society, but now ravaging poor Kenyans in the slums. The study found more than 4 per cent of adults in slums had diabetes, while 12 per cent of men and 12.7 per cent of women were suffering from hypertension.
Dr Donatien Beguy, an Associate Research Scientist at the center, said adolescents in slums were losing their virginity earlier than their peers in non-slum areas. This, he warned, put them at a higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections and having reproductive health complications.
Dr Beguy called for urgent intervention measures to ensure students do not drop out of school due to pregnancy or complications related to harmful sexual practices.
Hon Kambi said his ministry will work more closely with the center and other population and health research organizations to improve access to medical services and formulate people-friendly policies.