Nearly a third of Kenyan youth stressed over COVID-19: AMREF


Amref Health Africa Group CEO Githinji Gitahi speaks during the release of the report on ...
Amref Health Africa Group CEO Githinji Gitahi speaks during the release of the report on December 10, 2020. PHOTO | COURTESY

Nearly a third of Kenyan youth are stressed and living in fear due the effects of COVID-19, according to a study from Amref Health Africa.

The study released on Thursday revealed that 27%)are experiencing more stress and 30% are living in fear because of negative effects of the pandemic on their mental health, economic and social status.

“Young people are faced with unimaginable threats related to education, employment, access to health care and disposable income. Governments need to apply effective mechanisms and recovery measures to build resilience and expand social protection to avert further negative impact,” AMREF Health Africa Group CEO Githinji Gitahi said.

The study titled COVID-19 Knowledge, Attitudes, Practices and the Effects on Socio-Economic Status of Youth in Kenya was conducted in all 47 counties.

According to the report, an overview of qualitative data from youth aged 15–35 provided a wholistic picture of the key areas the pandemic is perceived to have influenced.

They include social challenges such as increased conflicts, early child marriages, physical and sexual violence as well illuminated inequalities in the education system.

Evalin Karijo, Director of Youth in Action, said the youth were engaged through the organization’s platform, online sharing by other partners as well as social media.

“From the study, knowledge of COVID-19 symptoms was high…about 90% of youth being able to correctly identify at least three symptoms,” she said.

The Director noted that over 2,153 interviews were completed. Gender distribution was as follows: 50.2% female and 49.8% male.

In addition, the findings from the study indicated that female respondents were more likely to correctly identify COVID-19 symptoms compared to men.

One of the recommendations of the study includes focus on addressing myths and misconceptions on risk of infection in addition to general messaging on COVID-19 infection and prevention.

Secondly, the study calls for increased use of peers or social media likely to reach and influence young people for positive behavior change.

“Messaging on community transmission needs to be strengthened and there’s need for government to invest in more COVID-19 isolation centres and provide accurate information to those isolating at home and living with their families on how to reduce spread of the virus,” she added.

Additional reporting by Gentrix Oduor

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