IWD 2022: Break the Bias

The International Women’s Day 2022 celebrations were marked with pomp and colour at the University of Nairobi. The University’s Travelling Theatre graced the celebrations with a lot of edutainment that challenged the participants on sex and reproductive health, safe and unsafe abortions. They performed songs, poetry and skits in between the speeches and the questions and answer sessions.

This year's theme,  'Break the bias' was discussed through different facets that affect women and girls. 

‘‘There’s no health without proper reproductive and sexual health” remarked Dr. Carol Odula. Dr. Carol, the chair, Kenya Medical Association Nairobi Division was the guest speaker during the International women’s day 2022 celebrations held at the University of Nairobi’s Manu Chandaria Auditorium.

The celebrations planned by UoN, Kenya Medical Association, and The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)  celebrated the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day is celebrated globally every year on 8th March.

This year’s celebrations focused on achieving the objectives of raising awareness on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), the dangers of unsafe abortion and forging partnerships that collectively promote and protect sexual and reproductive health rights.

Prof Winnie Mitulla, the UNESCO UNITWN chair, in her remarks noted that the day was dedicated to taking stock (pace of implementing policies). To ensure that what we are doing is right. She noted that it’s important to remind ourselves of our rights and obligations any time we commemorate such special days. She expressed the need for all sectors to collaborate fully to attain development in the country. This, she argued, could only be accomplished by implementing current regulations that promote gender equality. She urged all students and young adults to embrace UNESCO’s #03plus campaign to achieve reproductive health.

Dr. Kireki Omanwa, president, Kenya Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, stressed the need for comprehensive sex education (CSE) for all. “Comprehensive sex education is for equipping you so that you know what to do when to do it, how to do it and for you to make the right choices,” Said Dr. Kireki. He explained that CSE is inextricably linked to the third and fourth Sustainable Development Goals, which focus on quality health and wellness and quality education, respectively. He also emphasized the importance of educating everyone about abortion and the right ways to do it if need be, noting that there a half a million abortions in Kenya every year with several thousands of these resulting in complications and even death.

The Dean, Health Sciences, Prof Evelyn Wagaiyu who represented the Vice-Chancellor in the celebrations, emphasized the university’s continued efforts in providing age-appropriate comprehensive sexual education needs.  She also noted the university’s commitment to assisting students in making well-informed sexual decisions. An act made feasible by the Office of the Dean of Students and the University health system's through embracing the need to tackle outdated ideas that insisted on controlling young people’s sexual lives.