Population Studies and Research Institute (PSRI) held a data dissemination workshop in Homa Bay County on October 13, 2015.
The workshop organized in partnership with the Homa Bay County government, National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) saw PSRI disseminate findings of three studies including Rusinga Demographic Surveillance System (DSS) Round 22, Needs Assessment and Maternal Mortality reports undertaken as part of the 8th Government of Kenya and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) country programme.
Speaking during the event, PSRI director Prof. Kimani Murungaru highlighted the importance of the occasion noting that the research data had many potential applications on the county development including planning for basic services such as education, health facilities, identifying the needs of the community as well as monitoring and evaluating the impact of development activities. While underlining some important aspects of the studies, Prof. Murungaru said that, “The finding from Rusinga suggest a rapidly growing population which is yet to attain the desired standards of living although there have been positive changes.” He also noted that, “The high population growth is because of the high fertility (on average women have 5 births) since use of contraception is not as high (50 percent).
The director observed that despite the challenges there was notable improvements in the infrastructure particularly roads and connection to the national grid as well as the increased use of pit latrines in place of the bush and the use of solar instead of lantern.
While representing Homa Bay County Governor, County minister for Health, Dr. Lawrence Oteng enumerated the actions which the County government was taking to reduce the maternal mortality in the county as identified in the Needs Assessment report including staffing, construction of the theaters in the sub-counties hospitals, improved referral system by providing ambulances to each sub-county among others.
Dr. Oteng observed that maternal and neonatal mortality were part of the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP). He further observed that the County Family Planning Strategic Plan had been developed and the county was seeking for resources. He also emphasized the importance of monitoring and evaluating the policies and projects as well as forging strategic partnerships with various stakeholders. The minister lauded the PSRI for supporting the county government through scientific studies and findings.
Deputy Commissioner, Homa Bay County, Mr. Daniel Lusava reiterated that various issues revealed during the workshop including; gender violence, lack of adequate skilled staff and health facilities, negative cultural beliefs and poor infrastructure needed utmost attention to overcome them.
The UNFPA representative Mr. Ezekiel Ngure observed that the recommendations from the Needs Assessment report were incorporated in the current Annual Work-Plan (AWP) for 2015 while those from the other two reports maternal mortality and Rusinga DSS will be integrated in the AWP for 2016. He noted that future planning will focus on the Sustainable Millennium Development Goals (SMDGs) following their recent endorsement by the UN general Assembly and the IPs should work to deliver as one.
On his part Mr. Nzomo Mulatya the NCPD Director of Programmes observed that the data dissemination was timely and would be useful in the planning of the 2016, 8th GoK/UNFPA country programme. The workshop drew participants from National and County governments, UNFPA and NGOs working in Homa Bay County.