The eruption of covid-19 has brought out the importance of being keen on health in terms of prevention measures. Basic hygiene concept were just ignored or implemented when marking specific national and international day. As human, we tend to ignore or overlook matters. Before corona virus landed In Kenya we perceive maybe it won’t reach Africa. Come March 2020, the first case was recorded. We could not feel the impact since it was new. The concept of do you know someone who knows someone who knows someone who know someone has corona? It could trend as memes and imitation of Health cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe.
Come 2021 the narrative has changed by know you know someone who has been affected or succumbed to Corona Virus disease. Government no longer needs to remind you to adhere guidelines measures provided. It has become a personal responsibility and that’s brought out the importance of considering the aspects of healthy.
As we continue to deal with the latest world pandemic of covid 19, HIV is still another pandemic that still faces stigmatization in 21st century. As a youth advocate the service sometimes offered at health facilities, language used is among the reasons that restrict youths from seeking these services.
Speaking to young men in my hood, being seen going to the VCT demarketed rooms and been seen by fellow community members is a huge hindrance.
“Kama Niko fiti,sina ngori mbona niende hosi?kuenda hosi inamaanisha nitapa kenye natafuta.so hosi Zii” If am health, why do I have to go to hospital? Going to hospital means I will find what am looking for.one say.
Looking at this sentiment a lot of advocacy and capacity building with correct information in need to be done.
Introduction of HIV self-test kits, is the first step of the ADVOCACY process. The convenient and confidentiality aspect of it, is what has made younger men to be willing to participate in the exercise. With basic instructions and hotline number provided is what makes them feel more comfortable.
Working for a community based organization, the message spread rapidly. More and more youth inquire of the kits since it’s distributed for free.
Conducting outreach in work places, brought out the picture of how sometimes it’s not the men’s fault not to visit health center for particular services.
Most men as per their opinion, there is no need to go to the hospital and they are healthy as compare to their counterparts who are regular visitors at health facilities.
We also utilize the youth friendly center located at premises of lungalunga health center to ensure that youth get the services they need. The HIV virus pandemic has been there for some decades now but still there are those who lack information myths and misconception have landed most infected. The privacy that comes with the HIV self-test gives room for individual to internalize and take life more personal.
With continuous sensation and advocacy on observing the healthy life styles that adheres to the preventive measures provided and HIV will cease to being a pandemic.
By Muthoni kamau
U TENA CBO.