As the world marked World contraception day, Kisumu county took the celebrations to Katito Sub County hospital in Nyakach to recognize the annual event celebrated on the 26th of September.
The 2019 celebrations themed “It’s your Life, it’s your responsibility, know your options” begun with a procession that was flagged off by The County Sexual Reproductive health (SRP) coordinator Jane Owuor as residents joined the procession from Rang’ul dispensary to the Sub County hospital in Katito.
The world contraception day was marked by pomp and color as residents committed to the idea that family planning is possible and that all young people can have access to the contraceptive care they need, regardless of who they are or where they live.
The choice to host the event at Katito was informed by the fact that Nyakach has the highest number of teenage pregnancies rated at 31% followed by Muhuroni at 30%, Nyando at 26.5%, Seme at 23.5% as the rest of the three sub-counties, Kisumu west, east and central are below 20% (DHIS2 2018-2019).
In her speech, Jane Owuor who represented the County director health as the chief guest stated that teenage pregnancy, abuse of the emergency contraceptives, unplanned pregnancies deaths and access to contraception remains a key concern to residents.
Ms. Owuor was optimistic that the county health department has strived to promote sexual reproductive health in collaboration with development partners in the reproductive health, adding that last year more youth-friendly centers were launched across the county and that the department is looking forward to additional centers this financial year.
The deputy SRP health, Mr. Jackton Okeyo emphasized the need to use family planning methods and that contraceptives are incredibly safe.
World Contraception Day is a day where people and organizations from around the world come together to advocate for affordable and accessible contraception.
By Matilda Atieno
Kisumu County is set to introduce the world’s first HPV vaccine to girls of age 10-13 years in October 2019.
The HPV mass vaccination of girls in primary schools is set for the official launch on 2nd October and thereafter the kick-off of to provide girls in schools with free shots of the vaccine against cervical cancer following the disease burden experienced in the county.
Currently, the health department is conducting sensitization and mapping exercise of primary schools who are the targeted group in all the seven Sub Counties.
During the county stakeholder’s engagement forum for malaria vaccine (MVIP) and HPV Vaccine implementation program, it was announced that the mass vaccination will be carried out across the county to target girls in public facilities including hospitals and primary schools.
According to County nursing officer, Jane Raburu confirmed availability of the vaccine and that the side effects are not unique to other vaccines. She also emphasized that health is a right and that the county intends s to carry out HPV vaccination as an intervention to cervical cancer.
Cancer of the cervix is the fourth most common cancer affecting women worldwide and the second most common in lower-income regions. According to WHO HPV is the only cancer that is almost entirely preventable through a safe, effective vaccine and screenings.
The World Health Organization- WHO recommends HPV vaccination for girls. The vaccine is most effective when given early in adolescence between the age of 9 and 14 years – before girls are exposed to the virus.
The standard age target according to WHO is 10-14. However, Kenya has preferred to carry out immunization of girls aged between 10-13 who will be issued with an immunization card to show evidence of vaccination.
“When children aren’t vaccinated at the recommended time, they’re left vulnerable to getting cancer that could be prevented,” says Dr. Florence Akech
Vaccination against cervical cancer is given on time to protect preteens long before exposure to the virus hence the need to offer HPV vaccine by giving two injections at an interval of six to twelve months.
Living Water International has reiterated their commitment to boost water provision in the county.
The developments comes barely months after the NGO partnered the county government in launching a multi-million water project in Nyakach.
Speaking in Houston after meeting the organisations’ Senior Vice President on Programs, Jonathan Wiles, Kisumu Deputy Dr. Mathew Owili lauded the project a game changer as he led discussions to extend their programs for five years in the county.
The expected program extension period will see support in WASH sector to include borehole drilling, equipping, pipeline extension, capacity building of established community water service providers and sanitation component both in schools and churches.
This will allow expansion in the scope and will improve water coverage from the current 22% to over 80%.
Joining the discussions were Water CEC, Salmon Orimba, Living Water Legal affairs Director Natalie Mantel and Bishop Paul Ligono a Board member of Living Water in Kenya.
County department of Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries in collaboration with Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations (FAO) held a stakeholder forum, in a bid to integrate actions for innovative food systems actions across rural urban community projects.
The workshop held at Acacia Hotel on Tuesday this week, brought on board different stakeholders from the line of agriculture, KCB, individual farmers and farming groups such as Seke, Osiepe Practical group, Mazingira institute, Bondo University among others.
The objectives of the forum was to bring together the stakeholders and create synergy, know the activities they are engaged in, stakeholders commitment, establishing a policy orientation for Kisumu County on food systems, the potential of establishing multi- stakeholder platform and the challenges faced by the stakeholders.
Speaking during the official opening of the forum CEC Member for Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr. Gilchrist Okuom reiterated that the deliberations of the forum were key in changing the County’s Narrative from being net importers to producers.
“A net importer may not determine the quality and safety of the food produced”. Borrowing from the South African word Ubuntu translated as I am because you are, “such dependability will help us put food on our tables and manage the wastes that come from it,” said the Minister.
He further outlined some of the available opportunities that producers can exploit such as good infrastructure like roads, the International airport, Kisumu being the LREB Secretariat, and the revival of the port that connects Kisumu to both local and international markets.
The County Minister however, pointed out the plight of the unemployed youths as one of the challenges that going forward through such programs, the County will be able to tap into their potentials. He also affirmed his unwavering support by drafting a strategy paper that will guide resource allocation for agricultural projects.
On his part, Dr. Barack Okoba from FAO emphasized that resilience in community food production is key, that is knowing the food produced , its quality and safety standards is paramount. He further stated that early warning systems, access to certified seeds, capacity building farmers from production to post production and support for regulations on food safety standards are vital in building resilience.
There were presenters from line ministries on integrated urban food systems who included: Ag. Chief Officer for agriculture, Mr. Alfred Ajulu, Monica Oyanga, Rebecca Wanjiru and the moderator Mr. Erick Ogadho.
AgriFoSe2030, University of Nairobi and Mazingira Institute in collaboration with County department of Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries organized a two day workshop at Ikonia Hotel, Kisumu to deliberate on the development and implementation of urban agriculture (UA) policies in Nairobi, Kisumu, Thika and Nakuru.
The workshop focused on creating a framework for dialogue and discussions on the development of urban agriculture policies in the said towns and cities using the food systems approach.
The initiative is targeted to bring together stakeholders who include urban farmers, County agricultural and livestock officers, city planners, public health officers, trade organizations, traders, producers, researchers, NGO’s and service providers. This will create a forum to discuss issues on urban agriculture that will give insights to policy formulation.
According to scientific research findings, UA is a component of the urban food systems and that 20% of the urban population in Kisumu are engaged in urban agriculture. Generally, households engaged in urban agriculture have higher income which contributes about 36% to household income and the link between UA especially urban livestock production and food and nutrition security.
However urban farmers experience challenges emanating from lack of support from County Governments, substandard agricultural inputs such as seeds , livestock feed, health risks from both biological and chemical toxic sources
The CEC Member for Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr. Gilchrist Okuom in his address applauded the academicians and the stakeholders for taking up the initiative and that he was optimistic that the collaboration will help solve the challenges bedeviling the people of Kisumu.
He reiterated that due to fast rate of expansion in the City, rural practices are finding way into the urban centers, therefore there is need for a link transition of urban and rural dwellers and that the deliberations of the workshop will fill such gaps.
The Minister affirmed County’s commitment and political goodwill to the deliberations, thanking the partners for selecting Kisumu City for the programme since it will enable the people do things differently for better practices.
The Ag Chief Officer for agriculture Mr. Alfred Ajulu on his part was elated that Kisumu joined the selected towns and cities in creating a framework for dialogue that will inform the creation of a policy on urban agriculture and food systems set to address the challenges in agriculture like the issue of chemicals used.
He added that the expertise of a physical planner is key in addressing the issue of spatial planning in urban agriculture and that such regulations should be shared with the stakeholders. He also stated that the department is working on an urban food strategy.
The workshop being an agenda setting forum, there were presenters with rich academic insights on inputs on policy and research. They included: Dr. Diana Lee Smith of Mazingira Institute, Professor Willis Oluoch Kosura of Nairobi University, Davinda Lamba of Mazingira Institute, Professor Samuel Owuor of Nairobi University, Dr. Cecilia Onyango of Nairobi University, Dr. Samuel Onyango Omondi of Nairobi University and Mr. Isaac Dawo from County department of agriculture
The world’s first malaria vaccine has been initiated in 5 sub-counties in Kisumu including Kisumu East, Kisumu West, Kisumu Central Muhoroni and Seme sub-counties.
Kenya added the malaria vaccine to its routine immunization schedule for babies, becoming the third African country to roll out the vaccine following the malaria disease burden that threatens children across the country targeting about 120 000 children per year and 360000 children across the continent.
Kisumu is one of the 8 selected introduction Counties in Kenya, others are Homa Bay, Migori, Siaya, Busia, Bungoma, Vihiga and Kakamega counties. Within the eight counties, some sub-counties have introduced the vaccine into immunization schedules while others are set to introduce the vaccine later.
The county health department announced that the 3-year malaria vaccine implementation program that targets children aged between 6 months to 2 years, kicked off on the 17th September 2019 in all public health facilities within the 5 Sub Counties, living out 2 Sub Counties, Nyando and Nyakach.
Speaking during the county stakeholder’s engagement forum for malaria vaccine (MVIP) and HPV Vaccine implementation program on Thursday this week, Mr. Chris Odero Researcher on MVIP PATH Kenya clarified that the 2 Sub Counties were randomly left out after conducting a computer-based random selection. However, the selected Sub counties for implementation will inform action towards implementation of the malaria Vaccine in the remaining Sub Counties.
Other criteria used was the malaria disease burden, immunization coverage as well as functionality of the malaria interventions.
The county malaria coordinator, Lilyana Dayo emphasized that the vaccine will be administered to children through routine immunization and that the vaccine will be provided alongside other vaccines. Lilyana Dayo reaffirmed that the vaccine is safe adding that it offers an additional form of protection against malaria when used with other interventions.
The vaccine is provided in 4 dosage routine with the first dose administered at 6 months, the second dose at 7 months, the third dose at 9 months and the last dose at 24 months. However, children who have exceeded 6months but below one year can be administered with the first dose following the dosing schedule.
The MVIP takes advantage of other immunization programs as a patient will be offered with a sticker to record scheduled dosage.
According to Jeremiah Ongwara of County health promotion, the department have put in place rigorous messages and media information campaign to ensure that the public is sensitized on the new vaccine. Mr. Ongwara dismissed negative assertions that are meant to deter the implementation of the vaccine.
The forum also presented the mass roll-out of girls aged 10 to 13 years against cervical cancer-causing Human Papilloma Virus through the HPV Vaccine set for October this year. Stakeholders present were urged to share the information with residents on the benefits and importance of the vaccines.
By Matilda Atieno
The Kisumu governor professor Anyang’ Nyong’o on Tuesday signed the 2019/2020 Budget Appropriation Bill of Kisumu county.
While addressing the press, the governor mentioned on the issues covered by the bill which included health service delivery by continued upgrading of the teaching and referral hospital as well as opening up maternity and theater service unit in health facilities. This comes in as the nurse’s strike is ongoing and the governor urged the nurses to resume work as they await their wedges to be allocated.
He added that the bill will ensures that village council are operational this financial year, taking care of community development activities in environmental conservation, road maintenance, community health services and management of water resources.
The budget will ensure improved food production within the county by ensuring additional funding for agricultural mechanization and extension services.
The governor said that the budget has increased the amount allocated for bursaries for the students by 100% (double the previous amount).
“The budget provides funding for improvement of existing physical infrastructure in the county assembly and at the same time starting with the construction of new assembly block and the speaker’s house,” said the governor.
The bill will ensure implementation of the County Roads Maintenance with provisions for acquisition of equipment and payment of wages already made in the budget. It will also ensure that young people and other community members are involved in the road maintenance work and gets well compensated.
The budget will also provide funding for improvement of the existing physical infrastructure in the county assembly block and speakers house.
The governor sympathized with members of the county assembly saying that MCAs deserve to work in a decent and facilitative spaces in order to effectively discharge their mandate adding that it is their responsibility to adhere to the plans in the budget which are geared to ensure a blossom in the job opportunities within the county.
The bill was presented to the governor for signing by the Ag. Speaker of the county assembly, Hon. Elisha Oraro in the Presence of County Minister For Finance Nerry Achar and other County officials
By Wendy Chloe
Kisumu has envisioned a County in which all individuals and persons living with disability (PWD) in the communities have the opportunity to reach their highest potential in all sectors.
Recognizing that gender is a variable in support of human development, County government of Kisumu strive to localize measures being taken to improve gender relations by promoting men’s understanding of their familial and social roles in family planning and sexual and reproductive health issues.
The gender analysis dialogue held at Ahero in Nyando Sub County, brought together key stakeholders including, state and county gender officers, Sub County health workers, education officers, teachers and the business community to deliberate on family planning as a component of Reproductive and Maternal Newborns Care and Adolescent Health (RAMNCAH) with development of male engagement focusing on disability as one of key recommendations and action points to clearly help define strategies of reaching male clients and partners for reproductive health-related services through multi-sectoral collaboration.
The meeting organized by Afya Halisi, a USAID program in collaboration with County directorate of gender and health department provided an opportunity for brainstorming on male involvement in health matters.
Traditionally, health care providers and researchers in the field of reproductive health have focused almost exclusively on women when planning programs and services. However, efforts have been made to broaden men’s responsibility for their reproductive health as well as male involvement in reproductive health for female partners living with disability.
According to director gender Adah Omedi, the enactment of Kisumu County Persons with Disability Act (2016), which recognizes health, norms, economic empowerment, roles and relations as key determinants of the well-being of PWDs across sectors, provides for the rights and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. Mrs. Omedi stressed that Disability is a gender issue and that Kisumu county is recognized as the first county to ratify the Disability Act of 2016.
“Due to the higher vulnerability to health concerns, PWDs have the same health needs as every other member of the population, including immunization, screening, sexual and reproductive health, and all other aspects of regular healthcare.” Said Mrs. Omedi.
Health is a disability rights issue, which is why Article 25 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities sets out the normative framework which should govern disabled people’s access to healthcare. More importantly, is sexual and reproductive health (SRH) which is an essential component of health and a pillar for sustainable development. However, there is good evidence that the SRH needs of people living with disabilities have been neglected for decades because of the widespread view that they are not sexually active.
While it goes without saying that people with disability have equal rights to sexual and reproductive desires and hopes as non-disabled people, society has disregarded their sexuality and reproductive concerns, aspirations and human rights.
The 2 day training recommended special efforts that will emphasize men’s shared responsibility and promote their active involvement in responsible parenthood, sexual and reproductive behavior including family planning; prenatal, maternal child health; prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV; prevention of unwanted and high-risk pregnancies; shared control and contribution to family income, children’s education, health and nutrition; recognition and promotion of the equal value of children of both sexes.
Discussion of health needs of PWD should take into account improved technologies, health and social care that are increasingly available to people with different impairments.
The team also suggested that male responsibilities in family life must be included in the education of children from the earliest ages adding that Special emphasis should be placed on the prevention of violence against women and children.
The above challenge calls for more intense efforts to foster partnerships between men and women which help men identify with the magnitude and range of reproductive illnesses which affect women.
By Matilda Atieno
The County directorate of gender in collaboration with Equality Now and other partners held a capacity building training of Members of County assembly and County Executive Committee on legislative drafting and policy formulation processes in gender mainstreaming.
The 2 days’ workshop brought together MCAs and CECs drawn from three counties including Busia, Makueni and Kisumu, with shared experiences on the gender equality and sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) progress.
The objectives of the training include, to enhance understanding of legislative drafting principles among the MCAs and CECs, enhance the mastery of knowledge on policy formulation processes, providing a platform to deliberate on the challenges encountered in executing their mandate and introduce the model policy on SGBV to the MCAs and CECs.
Speaking during the official opening of the workshop, County Minister for Education ICT and Human Capacity development, Dr. Obiero Ogone, reiterated that county government remains steadfast in its support and commitment towards promoting programs for gender equality in Kisumu County.
“SGBV is a global human rights problem that is connected to gender inequalities and power imbalances, as a county government of Kisumu we have a responsibility to tackle cases of SGBV and believe that the SGBV Policy is critical,” said Dr. Ogeno,
The county minister challenged stakeholders to take up responsibility to tackle cases of SGBV adding that the gender mainstreaming policy and SGBV policy is critical.
The County Director of Gender, Adah Amedi highlighted the main programs of the directorate including women economic empowerment, fostering of women in leadership and participation in decision making, establishment of safe to protect the survivors of SGBV and the formation of Sub-County integrated technical working groups.
“We have a County GBV Technical Working Group made up of both state and non-state actors whose main mandate is prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence in the county through activities such as linkages, referrals and follow up of cases.” Said Ms. Amedi.
The directorate is also working towards formulation of the SGBV policy and a gender mainstreaming policy which are both on the pipeline.
Also present were members of the Kisumu County assembly gender committee chaired by Hon. Rashid Miruka of Nyakach, CEC members of gender Busia and Makueni.