UNESCO has partnered with the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) to ensure a sustained reduction in new HIV infections, unintended pregnancy, and gender-based violence under the Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future Plus (O3PLUS) Project. A breakfast meeting held on 2nd June, 2023 at Sarova Panafric to disseminate the Situational Analysis Report by UNESCO brought key stakeholders together to validate the results and map a way forward to address the identified gaps and challenges.
KMTC, a tertiary government institution in Kenya is mandated to train healthcare providers has a network of campuses in 44 counties and a population of about 55,000 students. The O3Plus project is currently implemented at their Nairobi, Kisumu, and Mombasa campuses after a situational analysis conducted by UNESCO between October and December 2022. The analysis revealed major gaps and challenges involving students’ health and wellbeing.
At a breakfast meeting to disseminate the results, gaps, and challenges at the institution were discussed, with results showing a great need for student support to access accurate information and quality youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services and lack of a referral system to report and respond to sexual harassment and gender-based violence. The meeting saw contributions from the represented students. Sandra Omina, validating the results gave their plight as students which include a need for mental health support systems in the school, youth-friendly services, access to accurate information about sexuality among others.
The constitution of Kenya 2010 article 43 guarantees the right to the highest attainable standard of health including reproductive health. With this guarantee also comes an assurance of the right to information concerning health including sexual and reproductive health. An integral component of this is prevention of unplanned pregnancies, unsafe abortions, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections. Despite this commitment, there exists gaps in access to information and services resulting to great sexual and reproductive health challenges.
‘’KMTC students are the largest beneficiaries of this project. This goes beyond the three pilot campuses namely, Nairobi Mombasa, and Kisumu in that the thirty peer mentors already inducted in the project shall each reach ten peers who in turn reach one hundred peers each. Moreover, this impact goes beyond the confines of KMTC to the larger Kenyan population because our graduates form the backbone of health care, making over 85% of the health care workforce in Kenya and spreading their tentacle abroad” highlightedDr Kelly Oluoch, Chief Executive Officer at KMTC while speaking at the breakfast meeting. “We therefore are looking at a bright future for the youth in terms of access to accurate and appropriate information as well as youth friendly services,”
The meeting brought partners together such as Global Peace Foundation Kenya, I Choose Life Africa, the Ministry of Health, and Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) who gave valuable contributions to addressing the identified challenges. KMTC committed to address the gaps and improve the health and wellbeing of the students.
In the words of the CEO, Dr Kelly Oluoch, “The dissemination of the situational analysis results only fortifies our resolve to ensure the youth of Kenya have their 3 “Os”(Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future). This is our commitment: We shall make sure the reality matches the promise”.
The actualisation of the commitments from the various partners and the firm declaration by the management will transform the lives of the students in the institution. UNESCO will continue with the support to ensure that young people are healthy, resilient, and empowered.