, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – A recent Kenya Demographic and Health Survey has revealed that 39 percent of married, divorced or separated women have experienced physical or sexual violence from their husbands or partners.
According to the study, 15 percent of the women said that they had been sexually abused.
National Aids Control Council coordination and support Deputy Director Sobbie Mulindi said such cases of sexual violence were to blame for the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS.
“It contains basically the names of individuals or organisations and professionals dealing with the issues of treatment, care and support and also institutions dealing with capacity building and legal services that are offered regarding sexual offenses and other services regarding counseling and treatment,” he explained at the launch of HIV/AIDS Gender Based Violence Services which will provide critical information on various interventions including prevention, care and support for those who have been physically and sexually abused.
At the event, The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) stressed the need for companies to put in place policies and strategies dealing with HIV/AIDS and gender based violence.
The federation’s Executive Director Jacqueline Mugo said that doing so would reduce any form of violence in the work environment.
She said that such policies will also boost the morale within any organisation.
“It is very important for workplaces to have policies on gender based violence and other aspects of health that have not been seen as part of work place intervention programmes,” Mrs Mugo pointed out.
“The entire wellness of the employee affects their productivity and affects the general atmosphere and culture within the organisation.”
Mrs Mugo further emphasised the need to involve employees in programmes dealing with the subject so that they can benefit fully from it.
“There is need for education and the need to form programmes driven by employees so that they own it to be able to bring it out because people do not talk about it,” she said. “There are issues of sexual harassment, discrimination, physiological trauma which happen at the work place.”
She stated that the essence of HIV and AIDS interventions was to encourage not only HIV prevention treatment and care and nutrition but also behavior change and positive living. She stated that this could only be made possible through easy access to such services.
The FKE boss explained that services provided by hospitals, comprehensive care centres and support groups for those living with HIV should be identified and made available to those who need it most.
She expressed FKE’s commitment to continue working with other partners in increasing HIV/AIDS work place interventions especially in the private sector.
She further called on the government to redouble its efforts in stamping out gender based violence.