Strengthen access to health services in rural and informal settlements

Strengthen access to health services in rural and informal settlements

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BY PURITY NTHIANA

Rural and slum communities experience disproportionately many challenges in regard to accessing health services. 

These include insecurity, poor road networks during medical emergencies, inadequate health facilities with trained medical personnel and poverty directly impacting affordability of health services.

The rights of many women in informal settlements are also violated when they experience forced sterilization without consent, lack of interpreters in health facilities and delays while seeking health services.

Inadequate or lack of contraceptive in the clinics also makes young girls in informal settlements more susceptible to unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortions.

Due to lack of information on constitution and abortion, many young girls in the slums end up going to quack doctors resulting on abortion related complications.

Unintended pregnancy leads to dropping out of school while limited education levels affect decision making relating to child bearing and frequent physical and sexual abuse by the male.

We therefore need to urgently ensure equality in allocating budget to health, establishing health facilities and upholding human rights including the right to affordable health services by all.

The Kenyan Health Ministry must ensure pregnant women in informal settlements have access to skilled care, removing economic barriers and strengthening the referral system across public and private facilities.

We should also include people living in informal settlements in the decision making process and ensure participation of the young people in the budget making process as well.

The government should also train health workers on the guidelines relating to provision of safe abortion to ensure this is done within the limits of the law and under the best medical conditions. 

Nthiana is a Youth Advocate at NAYA Kenya