Digital solutions for reproductive health gaps  

Platforms a safe haven for women experiencing emotional, psychological or physical abuse especially during Covid-19 period
Digital solutions for reproductive health gaps  

What you need to know:

  • Stakeholders of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights urged to leverage on technology to address existing gaps in service provision.
  • This is in a bid to tackle the rapidly rising cases of GBV, teenage pregnancies and maternal mortality through various inventive technologies.
  • Innovators say digital tools effective in reaching the numbers, share their web-based approaches and offline digital terrestrial interventions aimed at bridging the SRHR gaps widened during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Mums Village Kenya gives women access to counsellors and lawyers who help those affected make informed legal decisions.
  • Imara TV  is a dedicated edutainment platform on sexual reproductive health issues.
  • Genesis Care created  menstrual hygiene incinerators for disposing used sanitary towels.
  • Inteco Limited invented the Ari Pad ATM dispenser that enables girls access sanitary pads using a unique ID card.

Stakeholders of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) have been urged to leverage on technology to address existing gaps in service provision.

In a virtual stakeholders’ forum facilitated by ‘New Faces New Voices Kenya’ in conjunction with Graça Machel Trust, Global Fund for Women and United Nations Population Fund, a team of innovators last weekend joined the campaign to accelerate access to SRHR services.

This is in a bid to tackle the rapidly rising cases of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), teenage pregnancies and maternal mortality through various inventive technologies.

The innovators said digital tools are effective in reaching the numbers, and shared their web-based approaches and offline digital terrestrial interventions aimed at bridging the SRHR gaps that have widened during the Covid-19 pandemic.

SUPPORT NETWORK

Mums Village Kenya Acting CEO Millicent Muigai said digital platforms have been a safe haven for women going through emotional, psychological or physical abuse especially, during the pandemic by availing a social support network through peer-to-peer interaction. It also gives them access to counsellors and lawyers who help those affected make informed legal decisions.

“Our abuse support groups on the WhatsApp platform provides a question and answer forum that has so far impacted over 300,000 women who share their heart-wrenching stories. Initially, we successfully organised physical meet-ups with the GBV victims and assisted them to get legal and counselling support.

"Due to the current pandemic, we have since paused the physical meet-ups and migrated to an online platform,” said Ms Muigai.

Imara TV co-founder Stephen Maina said there is need to amplify sex education, especially in the grassroots through technology, to curb the prevalence of risky sexual social behaviours among young people such as ‘sex for fish’, ‘sex for money’, ‘sex for pads’ and other transactional sex practises going on due to financial constraints.

EDUTAINMENT PLATFORM

Imara TV is a dedicated edutainment platform on sexual reproductive health issues. Through documentaries, animations and series of SRHR-related content, Imara TV targets a robust online audience.

“Instead of producing live films, we have shifted to animated films that can be done remotely. We are also working in partnership with the Ministry of Health to create educational animation videos aimed at training medical personnel about coronavirus across our 47 counties,” said Mr Maina.

In the sphere of eco-friendly disposal of sanitary towels and PPE kits to preserve our environment, Genesis Care, who are among the top three women-led entrepreneurs that won $10,000 in a competition held by Graça Machel Trust, Nailab and UNFPA Kenya in 2018, have taken the lead with their innovative incinerators.

The menstrual hygiene incinerators are essential in disposing used sanitary towels that pose a threat to our environment.

“Covid-19 pandemic has brought a new challenge of disposal of PPE kits, masks and gloves. We have been able to innovate beyond the disposal of sanitary towels and the Genesis incinerator is now able to provide an eco-friendly disposal of hazardous medical supplies,” said Genesis Care Co-Founder Catherine Wanjoya.

DISCRETE ACCESS

In the accessibility of sanitary ware for schoolgirls, Munira Twahir, Founder of Inteco Limited – a process innovation company based in Kenya – invented the Ari Pad ATM dispenser that enables girls to access sanitary pads using a unique ID card.

“Our solution offers a supply and distribution management system with proper accountability structures and processes. By offering women discrete access of single packed sanitary pads through their sanitary pad dispenser brand, we ensure positive menstrual experience for adolescent girls in Kenya,” said Munira Twahir.

She added that Inteco is now focused on engaging partners to help in navigating the Covid-19 pandemic and allow adolescent girls to access sanitary pads in and out of school system, especially now that schools are closed.
Other innovators included Irving Amukasa, Co-Founder and CEO of Sophie Bot that has demonstrated the significance of using anonymous forums and digital chatbots to enable more people share their stories on sexuality and sexual reproductive health via App, Telegram, Twitter and website forums through texts and voice chats.


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