UNFPA, Kenya Red Cross Offer Supplies Amid Ongoing El-Nino Response

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Kenya Red Cross jointly flagged off the distribution of vital sexual and reproductive health supplies, including 174,000 assorted reproductive health kits and hygiene kits to deliver critical reproductive health supplies in the ongoing El-Nino response in ASAL counties in Kenya.

The counties are reeling from the aftermath of the El Nino floods that struck the country in late 2023, affecting over 500,000 people, including 58,000 pregnant and lactating mothers, with the enhanced rains leading not only to infrastructural damage but also to deaths and displacements of communities.

According to the Kenya Red Cross, Women and girls are the most vulnerable in disaster-stricken regions with limited access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health supplies and susceptibility to Gender-Based Violence.

Article 43 of the constitution of Kenya guarantees the right to the highest attainable standard of health, including reproductive health Speaking on a report by the Centre for Reproductive Rights, Jade Maina, Executive Director, Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health (TICAH) highlighted: “For Kenyan women and girls to realize healthy productive lives and contribute to nation building, the Government must live to its commitments to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leave no one behind in designing sexual and reproductive health and rights programs.”

According to the Gender Violence Recovery Centre, the female population is most affected with 56% of women and 36% of girls reporting cases of GVRC and between 39% and 47% of Kenyan women experiencing GBV in their lifetime- among the highest rates in the world.

UNFPA member offering services to some of the community members

According to the latest Kenya Red Cross El-Nino Floods Operation Response report, since the onset of the El-Nino rains, 139,071 households have been affected, with 69,519 displaced due to heavy rains. Presently, 5,521 households remain displaced in various camps across Tana-River, Garissa, Mandera, Kisumu, and Migori counties, a situation compounding the dangers associated with poor reproductive health and Gender-Based Violence.

The donated supplies, funded by UNFPA with contributions from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund and the Government of Japan, are a critical step in addressing the immediate needs of the affected populations. As pointed out by John Wafula, UNFPA Humanitarian Specialist, Sexual and reproductive health services are often limited or unavailable, resulting in more women giving birth without medical support.

Consequently, as the organization continues responding to the ongoing flood emergency, a budget of US$ 2.2 million has been earmarked for the 2024 humanitarian response, specifically focusing on sexual and reproductive health and protection needs in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) counties.

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