In this unprecedented time of the global pandemic of COVID-19 virus, religious and faith-based institutions and teachings, as well as traditional actors, can positively contribute to preventing the spread of the virus and serve as a source of comfort and stability. Religious and traditional actors are frequently well-positioned to respond and communicate information and teachings to their communities in times of crisis.
Faith leaders have a central role in guiding their members towards healthy behavior change and providing spiritual, pastoral and practical support to those in need.
The County Government of Nandi in partnership with German Organization; DSW is collaborating with faith organizations through the Department of Health to bolster outreach to communities on health education and safety about COVID-19 and reproductive health issues. Sensitization meetings have so far been held in Mosop, Emgwen, Tinderet and Nandi Hills Sub Counties and will be rolled out to others in counties by end of next week.
“We encourage and support the efforts of the faith communities in the fight against Coronavirus and reproductive health issues,” said Jane Samoei, County Head of Health Promotion.
“We work with their leaders because they are major stakeholders with credible links and influence among communities,” she added.
In the current state around the COVID-19 crisis, the impact on girls and women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights will have a truly devasting impact on the futures of girls and young women.
However, not all is lost. The Department of Health and DSW, have been fulfilling its mission to increase sustainable health access to communities through solutions in health services delivery.
The County Government continues to improve access to health services for women, men, adolescents and the youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has seen an increase in the availability and provision of family planning (FP), reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services in rural areas.
Covid-19 is leading to a shadow pandemic of gender-based violence – and rates of child marriage, teenage pregnancy predicted to increase exponentially – information and services that protect and promote girls’ and young women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights are more vital than ever.
The County Department of Health and DSW through religious leaders are promoting parental support to ensure access to essential sexual and reproductive health and rights services.
“During this period of Covid-19, Governments and the private sector should work together to ensure continuity in the supply chain of contraceptives and essential medicines for those living with HIV,” said Mark Gachagua, DSW.
Access to effective contraception is one of the most cost-effective interventions to reduce maternal mortality through preventing unintended pregnancy, thereby protecting an individual’s physical and mental health and it is important for people to be able to continue to access contraceptive information and services during the outbreak. Ensuring that people have access to the contraceptive services they need also reduces avoidable pressures on the health system to manage the consequences of unintended pregnancy.