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School girls heading to school. Cases of teenage pregnancies are on the increase in the country. /CFM-FILE.

Capital Health

Over 5,000 rape cases in Kenya during COVID period

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 23- The Ministry of Health has decried increased cases of violence against women and girls since Mach when coronavirus pandemic broke out in Kenya.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Mercy Mwangangi said at least 5,000 cases have been recorded since mid March, many of them involving girls aged under 18 years.

“The country has witnessed a 7 percent increase in the number of all forms of violence incidents from March to June compared to a similar period last year. It is worse in some counties and children below 18 percent bear the greatest burden as they comprise of 70 percent of the 5000 survivors with 5 percent being male,” she said.  

Shocking statistics released Thursday show that in the northern Kenya region of Wajir, Kisii, Lamu, Turkana, Homa Bay and Kisumu, the cases shot up by 30 per cent as compared to what was recorded in a similar period last year.

Dr Mwangangi called on Kenyans to be their brother’s keeper and ensure they are protecting each other regardless of the negative impacts that the coronavirus pandemic has brought in the country.

Further, Mwangangi assured that the government has put in measures and guidelines to help victims of violence and called on victims to seek help and medical attention.

“We continue to urge our health workers to be sympathetic to victims of violence including gender-based violence by ensuring that they manage physical, emotional and mental trauma that these victims often experience,” said Mwangangi.

A leaked government report released last month shows that as many as 50,000 school-going girls were impregnated since the schools were closed, fueling fears of more cases in the coming months because schools will remain closed until next year.

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Kenya is entering her peak of infections from August after a surge in positive cases that had shot up to 15,601 by July 23. Fatalities stood at 263.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe had also announced recently that mental health issues have increased since March when coronavirus pandemic was confirmed in the country.

“These psychosocial issues have compounded the problem of the current pandemic. The rising number of mental health-related issues such as depression some of which have ended up in suicide has been a concern to the government,” Kagwe said.

Last month, a young woman killed her four children and caller her relatives to inform her where the bodies were. She had also bought them new clothes for their burial. She is facing charges.

In the same month of June, a man killed his wife and son in Mwiki out of family-related frustrations; he was arrested as he tried to dispose off his son’s body after cutting it into two.

Another incident occurred in Kisumu where a female police officer shot and injured her husband accusing him of giving their house help Sh50 without her knowledge.

These cases are just but a representation of what is currently happening in many households.

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