Busia County through the National Aids Control Council’s support (NACC) has formed a Gender based Violence Technical Working group with a view to address the increasing GBV cases in the County.
Speaking during the official launching of the group at Busia County Commissioner’s Conference hall, Busia/ Bungoma Regional HIV/AIDS Coordinator, Steve Kathaka said the recent lockdown due to Covid 19 aggravated the vice adding: “Within the year 2020 we recorded a high number of pregnant teenagers as a result of rape and defilement.”
The worst hit sub-counties, he added were Matayos and Teso North. He regretted most of the victims did not access Post Exposure Prophylaxis noting that all rape victims are supposed to be given this special treatment within 72 hours of attack so that they do not contract HIV AIDS.
“Through the technical working group addressing GBV we also want to see more people coming out to access health services to reduce chances of HIV infection,” He cautioned parents to take care of their children and monitor who they spend time with during this festive season.
Kathaka advised learners to abstain from sexual activities to guard against contracting STIs including AIDs warning them that Busia County had more than 30,000 people living with HIV, majority of whom are aged between 15 to 24 years. “New HIV cases are mostly being recorded among the adolescent and young persons,” he said.
He underscored the need for the Gender Technical Working group to come up with a rescue center for victims of GBV because they may not be able to go back home after reporting the cases to the police. “So the National Aids Control Council in collaboration with other partners will look for ways of setting aside a makeshift structure that can act like a waiting place as GBV cases are solved,” he assured.
The County’s HIV prevalence, Kathaka revealed currently stands at 6.7 percent against the 4 percent National prevalence.
The 15 member Gender Technical Working Committee that includes the Civil Society Representative, Security Officers, Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution and other Government line Ministries will be chaired by the County Commissioner.
By Salome Alwanda