By Faith Otewa:
One of our goals of the Center is to highlight some of the important work in Sexual and Reproductive Health taking place in Kisumu and Nyanza. We were thrilled to sit down with the Director of KMET (Kisumu Medical and Education Trust), a Kisumu-based NGO working to promote innovative and sustainable reproductive health and education programs among underserved communities. KMET works in the areas of Maternal, Child, Adolescent and Child Health, livelihoods and nutrition, education and youth/adolescent empowerment and quality healthcare financing.
The organization has adopted an integrated model to provide a holistic care to women by offering specialized diagnostic services like Family Planning Services (FP), Immunization, and HIV Testing, Cervical Cancer Screening and Laboratory services. A well-stocked dispensing pharmacy is also in place. KMET also houses a Youth Friendly Clinic for its youthful clients of reproductive age. The services offered at the center are affordable.
With growing evidence that a substantial number of girls, children and women in Kisumu County are being either sexually or physically abused, there is need for survivors to be supported in terms of access to quality health care, psychosocial support, and rescue from perpetrators as well as access to justice. It is in this light that KMET initiated a freedom house, “Safe Space” to address unmet Reproductive Health needs of disadvantaged adolescent girls and young women aged between 10-24 years who continue to suffer from inadequate access to reproductive health services and gender based violence rendering girls voiceless and at risk. The freedom house is expected to offer a soft landing for the girls and women who have been victims of sexual violence or assault. The survivors are offered psychosocial support and guaranteed safety during the recovery period.
While in the freedom house, the survivors will be able to access quality health care from youth friendly clinic, empowered with information on reproductive health and those interested could also join vocational training for either dressmaking, hairdressing and catering for future economic empowerment. Above all, they will benefit from free therapeutic sessions from a professional counselor to help them heal from trauma and finally link the survivors with significant family members in a bid to settle them back in the society once they complete their therapeutic sessions and are free from trauma. They will also be linked up with relevant partners for legal redress so that justice may take its course.