The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stephen Kiama received the Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights Policy, Mental health Policy and the reviewed HIV draft policies on Monday, January 30, 2023 from the O3 plus Committee. The Draft policies are to be taken to the University Executive Board (UEB) and then subjected to stakeholder Engagement before being published and officially adopted by the Institution.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, the Committee Chair and Director, KAVI Institute of Clinical Research, Prof. Walter Jaoko elaborated the committee’s workplan that involved sub-committees, each with specific roles of developing the policies and reviewing the HIV policies guided by relevant documents such as the Constitution of Kenya.
He highlighted the contents of the policies; the reviewed HIV policy has been aligned to the UNAIDS 95:95:95 that means targeting 95% of UoN population to get tested and be aware of their status, 95% of those that are HIV positive to get treatment and 95% of those that are receiving treatment to achieve viral suppression. Each of the policies mentioned the need for increased awareness especially on mental health symptoms and the resources available at the University’s Health Services to cater to the students and staff.
While receiving the draft policies, the VC Prof. Kiama applauded the teams that worked tirelessly on the development of the policies on such a short notice. He recognized the importance of each policy within the UoN community. He promised to see the draft policies go through the UoN processes until presentation to the Council and the successful launch. He elaborated on his experiences with people who have had mental health challenges within the University citing that, ‘If someone is physically injured, it is easy for colleagues to see and offer the necessary assistance but when it comes to mental health, there is a lot of stigma and lack of knowledge around it.’
On her part, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Lucy Muhia expressed her joy noting that, ‘I am delighted and honored to see that the University community is cognizant of the fact that health is vital for enhanced productivity.’ She noted that, ‘One of the areas that lacked framework and guidelines is SRHR and mental health and yet the University deals with the young population. These policies will enhance better healthcare service to improve health and wellbeing of the University.’
Ms Jane Kamau, UNESCO O3 Plus Programme coordinator also applauded the UoN team that worked on the development of the policies. She pledged UNESCO’s support in seeing the policies launched and implemented at the University.
The O3 Plus project; Our rights, Our lives and Our future is a project that has been implemented at the University with support from UNESCO and the Swedish Government. The project aims to sensitize the youth on their rights and for the students wellbeing by addressing the pressure that causes mental health challenges, unintended pregnancies and constant reduction of HIV infections and substance addiction.
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