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Ugenya Youth and Community Development Project (Siaya and Nairobi County, Kenya)
Project Title: Amplifying the voices of older women and men in UHC efforts at the community level – Siaya County, KenyaIntroduction and Background’
Kenya has made progress in increasing population coverage with both healthcare services, and financial risk protection. The government efforts to expand access to priority healthcare services and reduce financial barriers seem to be bearing fruits. These include policies such as the user fee removal and free maternity policies. However, population coverage is still low and characterized by inequalities where the rich have better coverage than the poor. About half of Kenyans (24 million) do not have access to essential healthcare services, and a third of Kenyans (14 million) are not protected from the harmful effects of out of pocket healthcare payments. Kenya is therefore halfway through its UHC journey and still has a long way to go to achieve 100% population coverage with both needed healthcare services and financial risk protection mechanisms. While the slow progress towards UHC is perhaps symptomatic of weaknesses in all health system functions; there exists specific weakness of the health financing function as the Kenyan government has consistently underfunded the health sector with heavy reliance on voluntary payments to the NHIF as a pathway to UHC. This has contributed to the country’s slow UHC progress.’
Access and barriers to health services, particularly among the ageing population in rural parts of Kenya remains a challenge. Ensuring universal coverage for health and long-term care for older people in Siaya county, Kenya is still a distant ambition in many villages and more attention needs to be given to the links between UHC, COVID-19, health emergencies and ageing population if the goals of healthy ageing are to be achieved. With the outbreak and spread of COVID -19, the ageing population are more vulnerable to infection and deaths; and as we progress UHC, we must ensure older people aren’t left behind.
Advocacy Approach /Methodology:
This project seeks to champion for the inclusion of older people in UHC efforts at the community level. With the UHC Day 2020 Theme: Health for All, Protect Everyone, Ugenya Youth and Community Development Project aims to hold local leaders in Siaya county accountable to address the specific barriers older people face in accessing health and care services; raise awareness on their needs and plights and to prioritize an integrated approach that meets older women and men’s diverse needs.
Our project will use a combination of information kit, photography, dialogue and social media tools for advocacy to promote health systems that meets the needs of older people in the community and nationally. We will involve all relevant stakeholders including old men and women, local leaders, private sector, representatives in the areas of health, people affected by HIV and other conditions, people with disabilities and local government departments collectively in a two- week long activities from planning to actual celebration of UHC Day 2020 on 12th December 2020.
Recruitment, training and planning
Community volunteers will be recruited and trained on information kit production and a planning meeting held with the volunteers to plan the activities ahead of the main event on the UHC Day 2020. The participants, who will be mainly youth will be trained on IEC materials development and localization of the contexts to have messages remain relevant at the community level as well as use of photography in health campaigns.’
A set of information kits will be produced, procured and distributed. The trained team will hold meetings to develop and collate information packs on UHC day. These will include news release, posters, logo sheet and other IEC materials which will be collated and adapted for local use to enhance understanding among local population on the plight of older people in relation to UHC. The information pack will be assembled and distributed by the volunteers during the UHC Day celebrations.
UHC Day 12th December 2020 ‚Äì Support Dialogue
On the material day, we will create a platform for dialogue for older persons in the community who have (or have not) benefited from quality health services, financial protection; communities, local representatives, sub county policy makers through a round table talk. The older women and men will be invited to share their concerns and experience and increase their voices to the local policy makers on issues that concern them for inclusion in Universal Health Coverage.’
Social Media campaign’
Our volunteer teams will conduct a photo stunt in the community with older people and other age groups to make them aware of UHC Day and its importance. The photos will be widely shared through social media for mass awareness with short descriptions plus suggested hash tags targeting the relevant audiences to be reached with the UHC policy messages.
Target Participants and Audience:
This project seeks to reach out to children, youth, men and women, people living with HIV, people living with disabilities, health providers, government officials and other stakeholders and opinion makers at the community level It is expected that 25 participants will be equipped with technical skills in information kit development and thereafter approximately 200 people reached with the UHC information at the peak of the main event on the material day, and several thousand through social media
Our project will address key messages in every aspect from recruitment, training, photography and even advocacy meetings. The final product, that is the photos will be captioned with messages focusing on the thematic areas of UHC but narrowed down to among others: UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE CANNOT WAIT FOR THE AGEING POPULATION WITH THE EMERGENCE OF COVID-19