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COVID-19

CEDDG steps in for vulnerable girls in informal areas who cannot affords sanitary pads during the COVID-19 pandemic

The project supported by Trocaire with component on menstrual hygiene, has seen school going girls in informal settlements of Nakuru County receive menstrual hygiene products to enhance girls dignity, confidence and their retention in schools.

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CEDGG and Nakuru Menstrual Hygiene Network members during the distribution of Dignity packs at Nakuru's KFA Estate.PHOTO/CEDGG Communication Team.

School-going girls in various informal settlements in Nakuru have continued to face numerous challenges when it comes to matters menstrual hygiene.

High level of poverty and the COVID-19 pandemic leading to harsh economic times has seen these girls become more vulnerable in society.

Many of them are not able to afford sanitary pads during their menstrual times forcing them to stay away from school to avert shame.

Others become victims of sexual harassment from the male gender who take advantage in order to get few coins to purchase the sanitary pads.

The county government and even the national government’s COVID-19 cushion program did not factor in sanitary pads for vulnerable girls during the pandemic period.

It is for this reason that Nakuru Civil Society Organizations led by Centre for Enhancing Democracy-CEDGG in partnership with Nakuru Menstrual Hygiene Network commenced implementation of Project on Social accountability and service delivery as well as sensitization on ending Sexual Gender Based Violence against women and girls.

The project supported by Trocaire with component on menstrual hygiene, has seen school going girls in informal settlements of Nakuru County receive menstrual hygiene products to enhance girls dignity, confidence and their retention in schools.

Ms Twalha Yusuf- a Form Two student in one of the schools in Nakuru East Sub-county is a beneficiary of the project.

In an interview with this writer, Twalha says the high level of poverty has seen many girls in the community become vulnerable with many men taking advantage of them.

She added that the fact that girls in the community cannot afford the sanitary pads due to harsh economic times, forces some of them to fall to men trap exchanging sex with them for pads.

Twalha is however grateful to the CEDGG and other partners for the project that has ensured girls are retained in school even during their menstrual times.

She appealed to the government to ensure supply of the sanitary pads to all schools to avert girls’ suffering.

“The COVID-19 Pandemic has had a negative impact to girl child especially those in the informal settlements. The parents have no jobs to help purchase sanitary pads to the girls.This makes the girls vulnerable and some exchange sex with men to get at least sh.50 to buy the pads” she said.

A campaign dubbed ‘Support My Dream Campaign’ was also unveiled with intention to support more girls in the informal settlements within Nakuru County.

It is through the campaign that Gilanis Supermarket partnered with CEDGG where the dignity packs were purchased at the Gilanis supermarket at a discounted price.

This has seen more 440 girls benefit from the sanitary packs bringing to a total of 880 girls from various wards of the two sub counties.

In an interview with this writer, Wilkister Akinyi from CEDGG revealed that the project has impacted positively on vulnerable girls in the informal settlements.

“We realized that during this COVID-19 pandemic, adolescent girls in the informal settlements are becoming more vulnerable with majority unable to afford sanitary pads. When we visited these informal settlements we get to hear very sad stories” she said.

Under the project, 440 girls from Nakuru East and Nakuru West sub counties have benefited with dignity packs (containing hygiene and sanitary items, as well as other items towards the local needs of women and girls) have been distributed to adolescent girls and young women in Nakuru’s informal settlement.

According to Akinyi, there has been increasing demand for sanitary commodities and services during the COVID-19 pandemic with even young women still in need hence need to for more resources towards the same.

She challenged the county government of Nakuru to ensure increased allocation to improve menstrual hygiene outcomes.

“Besides issuing out the sanitary packs to these girls, we through the Nakuru Menstrual Hygiene Network shall continue to advocate for increased allocation through the county budget process towards menstrual hygiene” said Akinyi.

Cosmas Mutua from Nakuru Menstrual Hygiene Network lauded the Project adding that it came at the right time.

Mutua noted that many school going girls faced a lot of challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic that led to harsh economic times.

He revealed that many girls have faced sexual harassment and molestation due to the fact that they cannot afford the sanitary pads during their menstrual times.

Besides, some girls have been forced to stay out of schools to avert shame as poverty level in informal settlements renders them more vulnerable.

Mutua noted that the project has been of great help to such girls in the informal settlement as they were able to receive the dignity packs.

He called on the donor Trocaire to continue stepping in to ensure more girls are reached with the dignity packs in the community.

“The project has really helped address many challenges that school girls from informal settlements in Nakuru are facing when it comes to menstrual hygiene” said Mutua.

 

 

 

 

 

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COVID-19

How one entrepreneur is keeping hope alive among Kenyans

During the height of COVID-19, Jayesh Saini vowed not to add to the challenges afflicting Kenyans by down-scaling or closing shop, despite the macro economic pressures to do so.

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Jayesh Saini.PHOTO/COURTESY.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows that about 250,000 jobs were shed in the 3 months leading to March 2021.

This was despite the economy having showed signs of recovery from the COVID-19 hardships. This report plainly shows that COVID -19 pandemic has been a grim period for workers and businesses indicating the employment sector is trailing   the ongoing economic recovery.

COVID-19 has been a huge setback for the progress on poverty eradication in Kenya. Job losses, food insecurity and impact on social lifestyles has also seen a spike  in mental health cases.

While many companies were shutting down or down-scaling, there are some companies that always remained fully operational and open.

A good example is the Group of Companies  founded and chaired by Jayesh Saini, one of the top entrepreneurs in the country.

During the height of COVID-19, Jayesh Saini vowed not to add to the challenges afflicting Kenyans by down-scaling or closing shop, despite the macro economic pressures to do so.

This single act to keep his over 3,000 employees employed throughout the pandemic period in his various establishments has been key in ensuring their food security, healthcare and housing for the past one and a half years.

The efforts towards supporting his staff during this difficult time has had a big effect on his companies in terms of the personal toll it has taken to keep them afloat.

However, this strain is nothing compared to the far reaching impact this has had on his staff e.g. continuation of education for staff children, effective support in the event of illness through the Bliss Healthcare network and fostering strong relationships at home leading to better mental health.

This ultimately leads to better work performance.

We are not out of the woods yet as regards COVID-19, even with the lifting of the curfew recently.

However, with emphasis on getting more Kenyans vaccinated and having more affordable health set ups offering quality healthcare like Bliss Healthcare, we shall make it out of this pandemic stronger and better than ever!

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COVID-19

Kenya to begin repackaging human vaccines by April 2022

Today, the President said he was pleased to confirm to the nation that Kenya was on course to realize this target. As of today, over 5 million adults have been inoculated.

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Kenya will have the capacity to repackage the COVID-19 vaccine by early next year, President Uhuru Kenya has announced adding that the pandemic had taught the country the essence of self-reliance.

In May, the Ministry of Health said talks were underway with the Oxford AstraZeneca manufacturers to enable the importation of large quantities for repackaging in vials.

In his Mashujaa Day address earlier today at Wang’uru Stadium in Kirinyaga County, the President directed the Ministry of Health to fast-track the vaccine production capacity process.

“As the first step towards this goal, we have established a company to facilitate this venture in the name of Kenya Biovax Limited,” he stated saying the form and fill rollout by Easter of 2022.

The country aims to have a fully-fledged human vaccine manufacturing capability by 2024, the National Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Plan from the Ministry of Health shows.

On June 29, 2021, during his Sixteenth Address on the COVID-19 Pandemic, the President pledged to the nation that by Christmas this year over 10 million adults would have been vaccinated.

Today, the President said he was pleased to confirm to the nation that Kenya was on course to realize this target. As of today, over 5 million adults have been inoculated.

He said compliance to Ministry of Health protocols has seen new infections decline over the last two weeks, as characterized by the positivity rate of below 5 per cent over this period.

“It is, however, important for all of us to appreciate that we are not yet out of the woods. We must, therefore, continue to observe the containment measures as directed by the MoH,” he noted.

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COVID-19

President Uhuru: Why COVID-19 pandemic is a ‘blessing in disguise’

He said the strategic diagnostic investments have strengthened the country’s healthcare system especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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A virus

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented transformations in the country’s health sector, President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced.

He said the transformation is probably one of the most phenomenal testimonies of how Kenya transformed COVID-19 obstacles into opportunities that improved the health sector.

He said one of the unintended benefits of the pandemic is the increase of intensive care unit bed capacity from 108 to 651 ICU ready beds, an impressive 502 per cent.

“Similarly, our total hospital bed capacity as a country has increased by 47 per cent from 56,069 in 2013 to the current figure of 82,291 hospital beds spread throughout the country,” he noted.

While highlighting key achievements during Mashujaa Day celebrations in Kirinyaga County, the President also said the country has improved oxygen production capacity significantly.

The President reported that public health facilities can now produce over 32 million litters of medical Oxygen per day, up from 3 million litres per day in March 2020.

On testing capacity, he said the country in March 2020 only had one referencing laboratory to test notifiable diseases of international concern but now boosts of 95 such labs.

“Let me remind you that at the beginning of the pandemic early last year, we used to ship our samples for testing in South Africa and the results turnaround time would be anything from 5 days onwards,” he stated.

He said the strategic diagnostic investments have strengthened the country’s healthcare system especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It will propel us faster towards the attainment of UHC and fortify our country’s preparedness for future global health security challenges,” he stated.

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