A youth group calling itself Migori Young Advisory Council on Health (MYACH) took the war against HIV/Aids a notch higher after distributing free condoms to wananchi in Migori town and surrounding environs.
The group visited car-parks, Boda boda stages and bars and restaurants which they said are most vulnerable Kenyans to the most dreaded and common disease within the region.
The president of MYACH Ms Khadija Deyie said that they commenced the distribution of the protective kits four weeks ago to help reduce new HIV-AIDS infections.
“Migori is one of the top counties with highest infection rates and therefore calls for a first priority to help the residents especially to practice safe sex to reduce new infections,” said Khadija.
According to the Kenyan’s National HIV/AIDs Survey and Kenya Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (KENPHIA) of 2020 Migori, County was one of the top five counties with HIV prevalence rate of more than 9 per cent.
Ms Khadija told the press that apart from HIV-AIDs prevention, the distribution of the free condoms will also help reduce early and unwanted pregnancies and other Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STDs) among the youth. So far the group has distributed the free condoms in Suna East and Suna West Sub-counties.
Ms Khadija announced that they intend to distribute thousands of free condoms to all the eight Sub-counties in Migori before the end of May.
The major focus of the free condom distribution exercise was the Boda boda riders who have been blamed for early teenage pregnancies, she stressed.
Apart from the free distribution of condoms, the group had also been carrying out outreach civic education to the residents on the benefits of safer sex mainly to the youths.
Ms Khadija explained the importance of a condom stating that it is a family planning method that helps couples to plan properly on the number of children they desire to have leading to a healthier and happy family.
She emphasised that the biggest challenge facing them was reluctance of women to take the condoms. She also acknowledged that female condoms have not been received well among the residents due to “our cultural and tradition beliefs.”
According to Ms Khadija, campaigns on usage of condom have been criticized as a fact encouraging immorality among the youth. “When the residents see us youth distributing the condoms, they say we are the ones encouraging the youth to engage in immorality,” said Ms Khadija.
She appealed to the Ministry of Health to prioritise the distribution of Antiretroviral (AVRs) drugs to save lives of the millions of people living positive in the country.
The president of the MYACH thanked the Liverpool Voluntary Counseling Testing Center (LCVT), a Kenyan Non-governmental organisation for delivering the free condoms to help to reduce new infections, spread of HIV-AID and other STDs.
Ms Oliver Benfer, a member of the MYACH stressed that girls should resist the temptation of falling to traps of men who will spoil their education and at the same time infect them with HIV-AIDs and other STDS.
The MYACH has 24 youths across the 8 Sub-counties who work with community health workers to propel the health issues among youth and women.
By Geoffrey Makokha and George Agimba