Nairobi County moves to refill ARVs swept away by floods especially in Eastlands

Nairobi county government has moved to address cases where HIV patients had their ARVs swept by floods.

The most affected patients according to an official from the county are those in the Eastlands part of the county, where floods swept off homes.

This emerged during a reproductive health stakeholders meeting held in Nairobi on Friday.

Patients were left counting losses both for their valuables and their ARVs that had been swept away by flash floods, with the county moving in to refill their doses.

Nairobi was among counties worst hit by the recent floods which left, several dead, hundreds homeless and some schools inhabitable.

“We had a few of our patients affected, some of the drugs were swept off from where they were kept particularly the ones in the Eastlands side of Nairobi,” the official said during the forum.

In an effort to ensure adherence to the treatment regimen, the county involved the Community Health Promoters to establish the number of those affected before refilling their doses.

“Through the respective facilities, CHPs were able to get in touch with those who lost their drugs and once they established how many they were replenishment of the supplies was done from the respective facilities,” he said.

“Prior to that, when the warning came on adverse weather, many were encouraged to keep their drugs safely and also for those areas we suspected there would be challenges they were given multi month dispensing for an additional period of time just in case there is a problem.”

The meeting was organized by the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and the Reproductive Health Network Kenya (RHNK).

It brought together representatives from Nairobi county, the Ministry of Health, lawyers, Ministry of Education and the civil society to share their insights, experiences and knowledge related to the triple threat and SRHR in Kenya.

Nairobi County moves to refill ARVs swept away by floods especially in Eastlands

The meeting also sought to promote better understanding of the current SRHR situation in Kenya and to foster collaboration and stronger engagement.

According to the CSOs, the current policy environment hinders access to reproductive health services among the adolescents and young people despite them bearing the brunt of the Triple Threat.

They have noted that the overlapping challenge of new HIV infections, adolescent pregnancies and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) continue to be a barrier to efforts by the country to achieve United Nations’ Sustainable development goals.

They raised concern that the current policies by the Ministry of Health have rendered the rights as provided for in the Constitution ineffective, denying the adolescents their right to access reproductive health services such as access to contraceptives.

“There is a need to advocate for progressive laws that not only protect but also take into account the lived realities and reproductive health needs of adolescents and young people,” John Nyamu said.

 Nyamu is the Founder and senior technical advisor Reproductive Health Network Kenya (RHNK).

On his part, Associate Director for Legal Strategies at the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) Martin Onyango said the reproductive health policy which compels healthcare providers to have parental consent before giving out contraceptives is prohibiting access and utilization.

According to Onyango, the Constitution of Kenya 2010 provides unconditional healthcare access, including sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services.

However, the law remains unclear in terms of adolescents’ access to contraceptives.

“The confusion around children accessing contraceptives is a question of misdirection and confusion from the Ministry of Health in terms of lack of clear policy directives,” Onyango said.

However, the ministry’s representative Jane Koech said a policy on SRHR is being finalized and is expected to be unveiled soon.

“We still have two issues not agreed upon one being at what age should family planning be introduced to young people and adolescents and second one being return to school policy after giving birth,” Koech said.

Koech is from the ministry’s Division of reproductive and maternal health.

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