Sexual violence blamed for new HIV infections, unwanted pregnancies

New HIV infections and unwanted pregnancies are some of the issues that have emerged as a result of violence witnessed across the country.

Speaking during the daily COVID-19 press briefings, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Mercy Mwangangi noted that over 5000 recoveries have been recorded that resulted from Gender Based Violence meted out on victims during the pandemic period.

The Country has witnessed a 7% increase in the number of all forms of violence incidents, from March to June compared to a similar period last year.

CAS Mwangangi said, “Close to 5,000 rape survivors have received medical treatment in health facilities during this period of the Pandemic. Children below 18 years bear the greatest burden, as they comprise 70% of these survivors with 5% of these survivors being male.”

The CAS said that the inception of the measure that included the dawn to dusk curfew as well as partial lockdown of some counties could have resulted into the violence and had an impact on the mental health of the victims.

“We have noted with concern that some counties, particularly Wajir, Turkana, Kisii, Nandir Lamur Homabay and Kisumu, have recorded a 30% increase in cases of violence, since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Dr Mwangangi.

She noted that during the confinement measures put in place by the government, many cases of rape, have been recorded that resulted into transmission of HIV and resulted into pregnancies leaving a trail of suffering among the vulnerable members of the society especially women and children.

The CAS appealed to those affected by gender based violence were not seeking treatment at medical facilities due to unfounded fears that they could be infected with COVID-19.

She said that the Ministry of Health is establishing a toll free line to enable those affected to be able to report any form of violence or abuse and ensure that vulnerable members of the community are protected.

“The National Prevention and Response Plan on Violence Against Children 2019-2023, launched last week by the State Department of Social Protection, is quite timely.” Said Mwangangi.

Adding that: “The document addresses issues related to violence against children, including strengthening the toll free reporting line 116. Psycho-social support and counselling is available using the toll free number 1190.”

Dr. Mwangangi urged the communities to re-establish their social networks including religious institutions to intervene to be able to prevent the escalation of gender based violence.

This comes even as the country records 796 new COVID -19 infections in the last 24 hours bringing the total number of cases to 15,601.


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