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November 20, 2018

Mombasa, Kilifi sex workers don't have access to medical facilities, says ICRHK

Professor Joanne Mantel of New York and Professor Peter Gichangi, the Chief Executive Officer of International Centre for Reproductive Health-Kenya at Sun Africa Nyali Beach Hotel on Tuesday April 17, 2018. Photo/CHARLES MGHENYI
Professor Joanne Mantel of New York and Professor Peter Gichangi, the Chief Executive Officer of International Centre for Reproductive Health-Kenya at Sun Africa Nyali Beach Hotel on Tuesday April 17, 2018. Photo/CHARLES MGHENYI

Commercial sex workers and men who have sex with other men in Mombasa and Kilifi do not have access to health care services.

International Centre for Reproductive Health Kenya said these people lack access to health facilities due to their nature of work.

They work at night when most public health centres are already closed and there is a lot of stigma, making them fear to come out publicly.

ICRHK carried out a study in Changamwe, Mombasa Island, Likoni and Mtwapa, which is in Kilifi town.

Mtwapa is a renowned town for the high number of both male and female commercial sex workers.

ICRHK chief executive officer Professor Peter Gichangi said they interviewed 75 individuals under The Most at Risk Key Population (MaRPs).

Those interviewed include 25 female sex workers, 25 male sex workers and 25 clients who have sex with both male and female sex workers.

"The study was done at the bars and clubs within Mombasa and Kilifi, targeting the key population to see how best they can be helped," Gichangi said on Tuesday.

Read: Sex workers protest, pray over murder of colleague in Kisii

“What we found out was that the key population are really interested in health services and it is possible to deliver those services at the workplaces, bars and clubs. They need condoms, lubricants, and testing and treatment for the Sexually Transmitted Infections,” Gichangi said.

He was speaking at Sun Africa Nyali Beach Hotel in Mombasa during the ICRHK workshop.

Gichangi, who was the lead investigator of the study, said they also learnt the key population do not very well know how to use condoms and do not for regular checks and screening.

“Areas we identified as gaps; not knowing very well how to use condoms, how to deal with violence whenever they are attacked, how to deal with cervical cancer screening, breast cancer screening, those are the kinds of needs that affect these people,” Gichangi said.

He said they had to arrange with the bar owners and managers to allow them to have an interview with these individuals and also treat them in case of an infection.

Joanne Mantel, a Professor of Clinical Psychology from New York, said it came as surprise as a majority of male sex workers do not know how to use condoms.

“What we actually found is that many were interested in condom demonstration, teaching male sex workers how to use condoms. That was somehow surprising because you might think that every guy knows how to do that,” she said.

 

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