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GVRC opens GBV clinics in Homa Bay

The war against Gender Based-Violence (GBV) has gained traction in Homa Bay County following the establishment of two clinics to handle such cases.

GBV clinics have been established by the Gender Violence Recovery Centre (GVRC) in Rangwe and Mbita Sub-county hospitals.

The GVRC Manager for Medical and Psychosocial Support, Rebecca Gitau, said that the two new centres will help tackle the rising cases of GBV across the county.

She noted that the two clinics will bring to four the total number of such facilities in the county.

Similar clinics, dubbed Hope Centres, are at the county teaching and referral hospital and Makongeni Sub-county hospital in Homa Bay town.

Speaking Saturday after launching the two clinics, Ms. Gitau said that the establishment of the centres was geared towards tackling vices such as teenage pregnancies, defilement, and GBV, which are on the rise in the county.

She was accompanied during the launch by County Health Chief Officer Kevin Osuri and his counterpart from Gender Docket, Dolphin Ochere.

Dr. Osuri thanked the GVRC organisation for their efforts in addressing rampant cases of GBV in the county.

He appealed to the organisation to extend their programmes to other sub counties.

“We have already posted nurses to the new stations, and we hope they will start serving people,” the Chief Officer said.

The official, however, expressed concern that male survivors of GBV were not visiting the centres for help.

Dr. Osuri said there is a misconception that men cannot be victims of the vice.

He, however, told men who are suffering in silence to come out and fight for their rights. Some of the services that will be offered at the centres include counselling.

Meanwhile, the Homa Bay County Government has procured a boat ambulance that will help ferry patients from islands in Lake Victoria to the sub county hospital on the mainland.

Some of the people the ambulance will carry are survivors of gender violence.

Ms. Gitau said establishing the centres came after GVRC realised there was a gap in addressing gender issues in the county.

She said GVRC has had a presence in Homa Bay County for the past seven years.

The official noted that through collaboration with other like-minded organisations, they have managed to assist many women and teenage girls in overcoming life challenges.

“We have since trained health care providers and Community Health Promoters(CHPs) on ways of addressing gender violence. Our efforts are bearing fruit,” Ms Gitau said.

She called on other partners to support the newly opened hope centres.

Mbita Assistant County Commissioner Neema Weche said national government administrators also need to be trained on gender matters.

She said Chiefs were usually the first handlers of gender violence cases.

The administrator said his team needs to be equipped with knowledge on how to handle such matters.

“Sometimes witnesses have failed to appear in court, weakening cases. Everyone involved in the war against gender violence should therefore join hands and eradicate the vice,” Ms. Weche said.

She also expressed concern about attempts by some families to cover up cases through illegal out-of-court settlements.

Dr. Osuri said CHPs must ensure they help other agencies, including the police, in ensuring victims get justice.

Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV and AIDS (KELIN) Programme Officer Edwin Nyanga said Homa Bay has been known for so many vices.

“We are struggling with the triple threat. However, we can fight the vices if we join hands and work as a team,” he said.

By Davis Langat

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