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UNFPA launches reproductive health programme for six counties

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has partnered with four non-governmental organizations to strengthen the provision of sexual and reproductive health information and services in six drought affected counties in Northern Kenya.

Partners supporting the programme include the Kenya Red Cross, Peace Winds Japan International Rescue Committee, FilmAid Kenya, and the Collaborative Center for Gender and Development

The project, which is themed Building resilient health and protecting systems, targets populations in Garissa, Turkana, Marsabit, Isiolo, Samburu, and Mandera counties, focusing on prevention and response to gender-based violence and harmful practices such as FGM and child marriage for at-risk and vulnerable populations.

Addressing the press during a stakeholders’ meeting at a Garissa hotel today,UNFPA country representative Anders Thomsen said that the one-year programme aims to improve the utilization of quality, integrated sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence information and services by improving the institutional capacity of the county governments to provide these services in emergencies.

“We want to make sure that across all the ASAL counties, interventions and support to sexual reproductive health systems are put in place to ensure that the mothers do not die during childbirth and improve the health of the babies born,” Thomsen said.

“We are also working to prevent gender based violence, including harmful practices such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriages,” he added.

The programme will further seek to ensure that essential reproductive health medicines and supplies will be distributed to health facilities and hospitals to strengthen the provision of reproductive health care and distribute basic hygiene items such as sanitary pads to vulnerable women and girls.

Fatuma Iman from the county reproductive health department said that the programme will be of a great help in reducing the high-level maternal deaths which is currently at 641 per 100,000 births.

“Our burden in dealing with maternal deaths is overwhelming because we also receive patients from our neighbouring counties and even from the bordering state of Somalia. This programme will do well to us by improving our indicators,” Fatuma said.

She thanked the UNFPA for donating children’s dignity and mama kits which will help in attracting more women to deliver in hospitals across the county.

By Erick Kyalo

 

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