Friday, 16 October 2020

The Impact of Covid-19 On Pastoralists in Kenya

 By Tebby Otieno

“Our animals got so weak, the markets were locked, so we just sat there and ate the hides and skins”

“Life was really good before COVID-19. Any person who wanted to support women’s pastoralists came up with projects like milk coolants so that when we milk our cows we have a place to take the milk and from there it could be sold to these different companies.”

This is a reflection of a woman in Kajiado County, counting multiple losses as a result of the global pandemic, Coronavirus. Born and bred in the area, Kimcy Nasieku, a pastoralist woman cannot stop imagining how the good life has turned to suffering.

 “We also had food when the economy was good and could not see our children go hungry. Our animals were doing great but now COVID-19 came and all these milk coolants became useless to us, we started pouring milk” She remembers.

Nasieku had to adjust in order for her to observe the COVID-19 containment rules. This she did by building a temporary shelter for her livestock in a smaller piece of land in Kajiado town.  

“I had to move my animals from that bigger land back to a place where I can see them and take care for them daily. We try to manage although the environment is not good for them, but at least I got to save on deaths and theft” Narrates Nasieku.

Before the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, Nasieku used to have her livestock in her rural land. This could not be possible with the restriction of movement introduced in Kenya.

 “Again we believe in moving our animals during drought” She says “I could not be able to go to Taveta, Makueni, Tsavo or any other far places where there is pasture.  So what do we do, it down with our animals and suffer? It was very challenging to us.” She adds 

Kimcy Nasieku is also director at a Fukuza Njaa Initiative in Kajiado County. She says organizations which used to provide food aid stopped, leaving many families that benefited from the initiative going hungry.

“We suffered in terms of hunger, there was no food and drought came so there was no milk. Our animals got so weak, we could not sell at the market rates; the markets were locked so we just sat there and ate the hides and skins because that is the only thing we could eat” Laments Nasieku.

Being a wife and a mother of three, Nasieku like any other woman has to provide for her family. She has been used to selling part of her livestock to raise money. However, this was not possible with the closure of markets and lack of freedom to search greener pasture which has since being lifted.

“You cannot sell your animals. They are so weak and emaciated. So do you wait for the dead ones or you get it on the cooking pot and cook for your children” She says as she laughs with her tears in her eyes that are an open indication of her frustrations and struggles. She adds that her goats are progressing but are really thin.

“So when you slaughter such an animal you do not get the meat part of it except borne and the skin. I have a goat I took to the market but returned it here, I could not sell it because there was no one to buy” 

Nasieku is not alone. At the opposite side of the town is Naomy Mulata, an elderly pastoralist woman who doubles selling Maasai traditional attires and ornaments. She was forced to close her shop situated in Kajiado town and go back to her village, where she was entirely dependent on her livestock.

“When we were told to stay at home, we closed our shops and stayed home without doing business. We spent many days without food with our children.” Recalls Mulata.

She had to find a solution to save her family from hunger. Together with her husband, they made several phone calls enquiring from their then customers if they could still buy.

After multiple persuasions, they had to walk long distances up to the forests. This is where they could meet with the willing buyer, at least to exchange a goat with little cash to feed families back home.

“We used to sell in the forests because markets were closed. So we could make calls to customers. It was not easy because first I had to convince my husband to agree that we sell a goat to help children. A goat that we used to sell at 5, 000 shillings they used to pay 3,500 shillings and I sold around five.” Mulata also recalls how she used to wear out after a long journey to the forest and back home.

“You know walking a long distance and you are a woman is not easy but because I needed to feed my family I had to do it. I was always with my husband who offered my security in the forest. Before drought, my children entirely depended on milk after market was closed” She narrates.

Naomy Mulata standing infront of her shop in Kajiado town on 2nd October, 2020 photos by Tebby Otieno

A research conducted by Mercy Corps in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan countries on the impact of COVID-19 on livestock – based economies indicated a reduction in animal sales, following measures to minimize spread of COVID-19. 

“Between March and April 2020, livestock sales reduced 40-50 percent compared to the months immediately preceding COVID-19 lockdowns. Mercy Corps’ assessment found livestock prices for cattle, sheep, goats and camels have declined in feeder and secondary markets since March 2020, as a result of restrictions on exports and transportation challenges” Reads part of the Mercy Corps online data.

A part from hunger and lack of greener pasture, an increase in gender based violence cases have also been on the rise. Secretary General of Kajiado County Congress, an advocacy group advocating for the rights of Kajiado County confirmed. Kimcy Nasieku, who is also a Human Rights Activist, condemns cultural practices that silences victims of sexual gender based violence.

“The same people we were left with at home are the same ones infringing on our rights and that was to us women the most challenging part. I am a Maasai woman but I do not believe in some of the cultural practices. We can take the positive ones but these negative ones, mostly when it comes to defiling our children, beating our women no” She notes.

Boarding schools have been saving and shielding girls from many of these issues. The many government programs provide girls with sanitary pads, where they might not have access to with closure of schools. Nasieku says all school girls who are currently expectant should be allowed back to school with the reopening plans underway.

“When schools reopen now we are going to see empty classes in this aspect that our girls are heavily pregnant. On the other hand, we do not have school fees so our options remain to stay back at home” She adds “Our girls should be allowed to attend schools some of them got pregnant while looking for livelihoods for food to eat, sanitary towels so you do not just judge her wrongly because she is pregnant.” County Director of veterinary Services Kajiado County, Jackton Achola confirms how closure of Markets affected pastoralists in the area.

“We have what we call a livestock market. During the COVID-19 most of our livestock in the markets were closed, so farmers could not access markets for their livestock and that seriously affected them, because actually they rely on this livestock maybe to support other activities especially the food, hospitals and school fees although schools were closed so COVID-19 seriously affected the livestock markets” Achola confirms.

He further encourages pastoralists to access markets. Achola reminds them to observe measures given by the health ministry officials so that markets do not close again, even as Coronavirus cases increase.

Monday, 28 September 2020

Sip Water, Keep It in The Mouth and Make Sure You Don’t Swallow It, Counsellor Advices Couples Amid Increased Domestic Violence

 By Tebby Otieno

“He had actually beaten her so bad; she was bleeding and so by the time she was calling me, and when I was getting there it was bad, we even had to take her to hospital.” 

These are the words of a forty-year-old mother of four who has been offering support to families going through gender-based violence in Kenya. She has shared her contacts with various groups of people in the country to allow easy access at their most time of need. 

Born and raised in Nyahururu, Central Kenya, Majorine Wanjiru says she had lots of challenges which gave her a desire to study a career that could help her offer support to people going through the same today. She is a counsellor by profession and has been practicing this since 2015. The most overwhelming time in her career has been during the COVID-19 pandemic when lockdown, curfew, and job losses have led to disagreements between most couples. 

“Most of the calls I receive at night by women screaming and yelling,” Says Majorine “The best I do is to offer them a shoulder to lean on by allowing them to talk and by the time they are done, automatically they calm down because that is the only thing they need at that particular time,” She narrates

Wanjiru who now stays with her family in Ngong area Nairobi, attributes her strength to the support she gets from her husband, she admits that handling gender-based violence involving couples is a tough call. 

“Mostly I first meet the lady because I listen to them individually before I bring them together so that they know when to talk, listen and respond so that they don’t fight back and as a counsellor I understand them because that is the situation they are in at that moment,” She adds. 

Wanjiru says in the future he would want to be a motivational speaker “Violence between couples has really increased at times. I tell them to take a sip of water, keep it in their mouth and make sure you don’t swallow it, when there is an argument that’s when things escalate.”  

Counselors do not offer advice or solutions to challenges people go through, instead they suggest and help them get inner peace by working within themselves, even though one seems not to be in a position. 

“In case there is violence, a separation is really advisable, where this is not possible decision is made in the best interest of the children” She notes 

Even though children might not physically be abused when their parents fight, Wanjiru says when either of the parents is going through such a situation it automatically affects children in one way or the other.

Gender based violence cases affect both women and men. In Embakasi, far East of Nairobi, officer working at a non-governmental organization in Mukuru informal settlements, Anastacia Wakwanya cites a case reported in their office;

“We have a short message platform where a survivor reported that he was sexually violated by a police officer who is a lady, actually during this COVID-19 era and he was so scared. When I called him, he admitted having been in a relationship with the lady sometimes back, we helped him get treatment. He was not ready to report the case”  

Situated in the middle of informal settlement, Ruben Centre is easily accessible by locals. Staff here help survivors get treatment, medication, and psychosocial support at specific hospitals where they are treated with dignity

“During this COVID-19 we have been receiving sexual and domestic violence cases, with the latter being the more rampant,” adds Wakwanya “For sexual violence we encourage that it is important for the survivor to go to the hospital before 72 hours are over, past that either the person gets pregnant if it’s a lady or chances for them to get diseases like sexually transmitted infections is very high.”  Says a social worker.

Kenya has The Protection Law against domestic violence enacted in 2015. It provides for the protection of members within a domestic setting. Program analyst on ending violence against women and girls at UN WOMEN, describes this law as more of a protective order:

“If someone is threatened or is in an abusive relationship they could actually ask for protection from the authority so that either they are removed from that setting or the person who is abusive in that relationship is removed to give other members in that domestic setting their guaranteed safety,” notes Wangechi Grace.  

While discussions are ongoing to ensure the country works on development of a regulation to ease implementation of an act of parliament, Grace adds that UN WOMEN works to ensure the prevention and response to gender based violence to make sure that society is free of all kinds of violence.

“People living within a domestic setting should settle their conflicts in an amicable way and avoid all forms of violence. Families, individuals in any given setting should work at resolving conflicts but also live in respectful relationships so that then we promote a society that is free from all forms of violence.”  

Kenya recorded a seven percent increase in the number of all forms of violence incidence from March to June 2020 since the beginning of the pandemic, compared to a similar period the previous year. 

Speaking in one of the daily press briefings in July, Chief administrative secretary in the health ministry, Dr Mercy Mwangangi, reminded people that measures put in place to minimize the spread of Coronavirus, do not at all justify any violence being meted on innocent members of the society especially women and children.

“The increase in violence cases predominantly gender based one has been witnessed globally,” said Dr Mwangangi; “Unemployment, the inability to provide for families, the economic uncertainty that we are  facing may have added extra strain and heightened anxiety among families however, again we do repeat that this is not an excuse to mete any form of violence on anyone and it is in this consideration in terms of the issues we have laid out that we have instituted measures to mitigate social evils and so we continue to encourage members of the public to ensure that we take advantage of these measures to caution themselves,” she concluded. 

Economic Impact of COVID-19 on elderly, needy with HIV positive status

By Tebby Otieno

I can go for ARV drugs but I don’t even have food to eat before I take them and you know they are very powerful Narrates an elderly woman.  

Mumbi Kamau (Not her real name), 59, has called Korogocho slums in Nairobi, her home since 1978. She faces water shortages, and is in this congested slum where observing social distancing, as advised by scientists in the effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, is difficult.

Mumbi used to collect old used hair weaves at the dumping site in a market near her home. She would wash them, comb them out nicely and resale to various saloonists in her neighbourhood. 

This stopped following a road accident she was involved in. On 26 June 2020, she took a motorcycle home from the market. The motorcyclist lost control and landed in a nearby bridge. 

She was later rescued by other motorcyclists who accompanied her to a health facility. She is currently in her house nursing leg wounds and other injuries sustained from the accident.

 I used to make KShs 200 per day from the sales of old weaves, each package at twenty shillings. I can’t go look for that hair anymore.  I am now thinking of what I can do next,” she says.

At 59 she is among the elderly in the community and this makes her more susceptible for catching the coronavirus disease.

“My five children have even more problems than myself. At this point my grandchildren would be going to class but with coronavirus they have started doing casual jobs to help their mothers,” she laments. 

Mumbi’s children wash clothes for people but with coronavirus this is not acceptable.

She has been on Antiretroviral (ARVs.) which she picks from a nearby health centre. The drugs, according to her, affect her health especially with the increasing COVID-19 cases being reported in Kenya, which she says she fears most whenever she is to be in public.

She is now calling on the government, through the Ministry of Labour, to consider her in the Inua Jamii package set aside to cushion the most vulnerable people from the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya.

Korogocho informal settlement where she stays is highly populated, with a majority of residents here depending on nearby factories or casual jobs, as a source of income. A resident who identified himself to me as Uncle, says there is a lot of unanswered questions about COVID-19 cases in the area

We need the Ministry of Health to break cases of coronavirus to villages, like now we hear there are cases in our Sub County but we don’t know whether those are positive within this particular village. If you look around, people are going on with their normal lives, face masks are worn because of police officers, some don’t put them on at all, we are so crowded, no social distancing. Factories are testing employees, what will happen when they find me positive and everyone in my family depends on me,” asks Uncle.

Youth make up a majority of Kenya’s population and have been asked to observe health measures put in place to control spread of COVID-19. Like Uncle, many do not think they will catch COVID-19 because they are young and healthy. Uncle adds that he does not trust the government.

Findings of a study on age dependence in susceptibility and clinical fraction published on 16 June 2020 by Nature Medicine, indicates that cities with younger populations are expected to show fewer cases of COVID-19 than cities with older populations depending on all cities having the same age-dependent clinical fraction. 

Findings however, indicate that the relationship between age and clinical symptoms could differ across settings because of a different distribution of comorbidities or setting-specific comorbidities such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)

Alfred Nandwa, a health worker in Nairobi explains why the elderly and those with other underlying health conditions are more susceptible to COVID-19 disease

Most of the elderly people’s immunity system is compromised due to age so in that case you find most of time they are very vulnerable because their immune system is actually very low and weak, so they cannot withstand any infection. You know HIV what it does is to weaken immunity system, when immune system is weakened this person is very much vulnerable in that he/she is able to get any kind of infection. We find most people who are HIV positive their immune system is very low and in that case when they get any kind of infectious diseases or bacterial infections like Tuberculosis or this COVID-19 they are very much at a very high risk of being infected with this virus,” he noted.

The number of people staying in densely populated places living per square meter is high making it difficult to implement various preventive COVID-19 measures recommended by healthcare workers. 

Dr Ephantus Njagi says The proper distance for you to protect yourself and the other person from COVID-19 is to stay six feet (Two meters) each away from the other person, there is a science behind that, if you are speaking or coughing the droplets cannot travel that much distance, that is why that distance is important.

He also emphasizes on proper use of face masks and observing hygiene

We should wear a mask because as you talk or breathe, it captures the droplets and they don’t travel that distance and if you happen it can also capture on top. The third one is cleaning the hands with soap and water. These three are very critical in ensuring that we do not move COVID-19 from one person to the other, wherever you stay, you should actually ensure that those three are actually applied.

During the tenth Presidential address on the COVID-19 pandemic, on 27 July 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered and directed a nationwide curfew to remain in force for a further thirty days. There is to be no sale of alcoholic drinks and beverages in eateries and restaurants across the country for the next thirty days. President Kenyatta also ordered bars to remain closed until further notice, and asked citizens to continue wearing face masks and frequently wash their hands, in efforts to stop the spread of the virus.

If a waiter in a restaurant is not complying with the health rules, speak up, report them, and even refuse them your business. Do your part knowing that it will keep you and your loved ones safer. The power is in your hands to save them. Wear a mask and wash your hands because you are a responsible and caring person, not because the government is telling you to do so,” said President Kenyatta.

Sunday, 26 July 2020

We are abused by our women, Kenyan men cry

By Tebby Otieno

In one of the informal settlements of Nairobi’s metropolitan's Kawangware, is a man whose efforts are employed in transporting luggage for people from one area to the other. On a sunny afternoon he is in his vest while on a rainy day, he is in his T-shirt, he never puts on warm clothes because his job always makes him sweat, this is his source of income that puts food on his table and pay other bills.

I met him in Kawangware stage 2 area when the sun was up, seated on one side of his cart commonly known by locals as mkokoteni, he identified himself to me as Jack. Out of Jack’s effort lies inner struggles as he narrates

 “My wife left out of a small issue related to my work, sometimes I could go to work and get little money, when I tell her that’s what I got, she says it is not enough and sometimes she even used to accuse me of having other women and complaining I was not taking food home. We stayed in marriage for four years but she never used to show me love I am now suffering alone” he said

Jack’s wife left when he was out, according to him, she carried everything that was in the house. He chose not to report

“she went with children and she keeps on asking me for money, men we are suffering. I did not report because when you go there, they will defend your wife. They will not listen to a man; they only listen to women. She used to hate me, abuse me, when I could get home after they have eaten she serves me cold food, calls me stupid I have suffered…no one is defending us, everyone is defending women, we are forced to leave everything to God, He is our defender” he narrates

Jack represents several men suffering in silence, men who probably have never gotten reason to open up to authorities for justice. According to gender based violence Champion in Meru County, Ahmed Yusuf, most men who go through abuse shy off and would instead lie about the ordeal

“Some of the cases we get are women and children, but for men you see them looking depressed but don’t report, you can find someone being beaten by wife and then in public they tell you they had accident like they fell out of a bodaboda” he comments

Gender based violence, GBV is being harsh against a person because of their gender, that means that somebody is being bullied or threatened because either they are a woman or a man or because of their social expectation. Executive Director at Women Empowerment Link, Virginia Nduta says what comes out as aggressive is in simple terms punishment

 “When we now look at issues raised around wife/husband, what we call intimate partner relationships, we have wide range of what encompasses gender based violence, so it goes beyond physical violence to psychosocial violence which goes around intimidation, harassment, economic and even sexual violence. GBV is something that persists over time so you’ll find that gender based violence certain actions like a wife serving husband cold food, insulting husband could be as a result of other issues that are ongoing within family units that have been unresolved. So you find that in a family setup a lot of couples or intimate partners are resolving to other ways of revenge as opposed to open communication, so that is how actually GBV starts building up” Explains Nduta.

In every stage of life there are challenges that come with the growth, during this process there is interaction and relationships in between, but still, when people differ, there is that person who will hold back to avoid either emotional or physical violence. In one of my travels, I decided to engage a male taxi driver who was dropping me to Westland in Nairobi. Mwaniki Lernard agreed that we have the conversation after I introduced myself to him. He says once in a while women provoke men. I asked him why Kenyan men keep quiet about this

“The African society brings us up in a way that whenever we are attacked by women, there is always a belief that a man should not speak out, so according to the society we are supposed to be the head and not coward to such. Even in the police stations you find that there are not many cases which have been reported of men being attacked by women but trust me, now especially with the pandemic so many people are suffering, because so many jobs have been lost, so many businesses are down. You find that even the money that you used to get before is not available right now but for women they are usually there when it is convenient for them, so when things get tough they return it in a way that it is a bit arrogant or abusive. Those cases are there but men don’t have the confidence and attitude to speak out. Lately there are so many men who have been attacked by women, some have been harmed, some have been killed so these cases are there were it not they got to that level that there was murder they would not have been reported” Narrates Leonard 

Leonard’s comment led me to Kabete police station. A police officer, at gender office here tells me that men who report do not care how public will judge them considering prosecution process 

“We have been receiving cases of men being beaten and we have prosecuted some of the cases, after they report, we record statement, we gather evidence we go to scene, you see in every case there has to be witnesses- someone who saw, someone who heard or if it was an assault and maybe an injury has been inflicted there was medication, we go as per the doctor’s summery. This year we have between 10-20 percent GBV cases reported by the male, they are very few and when men come, if he is a husband, then later the wife comes because most of these cases are domestic. You see when you come to report at police station it is like you are making it public because you don’t fear what the public will say because this is a case that will even go to court and at the court it is not a private court, it is an open court where people will listen to what is happening so some of them fear, they don’t want to wash their dirty linens in public.” Explains a police officer in gender office at Kabete Police Station

The National Police Service in conjunction with Jamii Thabiti and Women’s Empowerment Link, have come up with a set of standards to implement Standard Operating Procedures on response and prevention on gender based violence by police officers. The trainings help police officers on how to handle better cases of GBV, this is done by offering trainings to various police officers, working in gender offices at their respective police stations

“Either way, you have to empathize with any gender, you can’t say it is better to handle male or it is better to handle females. What you have to do is empathize with them, know how to handle them, listen to them, give them a listening ear, ensure there is very high confidentiality, ensure if at all wherever they have come from, if maybe they are living in the same house maybe it is a wife who has  abused the husband and they live in the same house ensure that man’s safety comes first, maybe for example ask him, does he has anyone whom he can live with at the moment, if not look for a safety house where he can stay for a while as he survives from whatever has been happening as you handle the case” Confirms a police officer in gender office at Parklands Police Station.

Naturally, men have cover of a home while women are assumed to be the picture of love and care. Psychologist Dr. Gladys Mwiti says from a cultural perspective, there will be a lot of shame and then there will be a lot of ego bashing because when a woman abuses a man it means bashing male ego. This in return leads to shame and then other psychological factors with many unanswered questions

“It even gets worse from a man’s perspective if he reports the abuse he goes through. Imagine you’re going to report such a serious thing and guys are having a laughter of their life. Men should report but even before they report they should be asking themselves where did this come from because you may go report and go home more traumatized, the better thing even before they report is arm themselves with understanding, and by understanding you don’t just walk in a police station. So you sort of like to enter a safe place with someone before you go reporting, so you go to the police with understanding because you are going to report expecting them to do something. By the way, every man is better off preventing this from happening because of the outcomes you can’t tell. Many women don’t have the muscles but they have the tongue” says Dr Gladys

Society for years has socialized men in a way that they have more power than women. They grow up knowing they don’t need to cry so even when they are having issues be it emotional, social, economic or whatever kind of issue they are expected to ‘man up’. Fortunately, there are men who feel there is a need for change and this can be achieved by bringing men together and creating a conducive environment for social change. Executive Director at Advocates for Social Change Kenya, formerly known as Men for Gender Equality Now, Phillip Erick Otieno explains   

 “The reason why we work with men and boys is also to bring to light some of their issues so that they are able to speak up and also to create awareness to them and to sensitize them that they can also talk, they can come out and say when things are not going right. Actually because of patriarchy men still hold key positions in decision making and therefore even in terms of coming up with social norms, they should come up with those norms that also allow everybody to be able to come out and to air their afflictions without fear of being laughed at or being stigmatized based on what they are going through because that always hurt them” he said

He also calls out on men to be free to share that other side of them that is wanting since Kenyan law, applies to anybody whose rights are being infringed on 

“The problem we are having as a society is that a lot of times even when men are violated, let’s take an example of when men are violated by women then it becomes very difficult for those men to come out because of the societal expectations and therefore this man will keep quiet but the fact is anybody who is violated be they a man or a woman then their rights have been infringed on and the law needs to take its course. In Kenya we have various laws, if the man is violated sexually then the Sexual Offences Act of 2006 will come into place, if the man undergoes domestic form of violence, physical violence, emotional violence , sociocultural violence-beating, hitting, biting all those kind of things then The Protection Against Domestic Violence Act can also be applied to deal with these cases and remember our laws are not laws that are only used for female or women victims or survivors of violence but it is for both” Concludes Mr Otieno

In June this year, Dan ShieShie Foundation in collaboration with TeleSky, Kenya Healthcare Foundation and Kenya Private Sector Alliance, KEPSA established a toll free line 1196 to assist men facing gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the number, men who report are linked to counsellors who counsel them without charge. A report released by Gender Based Violence in Kenya 2014, shows that 56.5 percent of men report the gender based violence cases at police stations.

Friday, 17 July 2020

Thousands of people suffer from food poison globally every year

By Tebby Otieno

‘‘What I can say about food safety is, like this my work someone might say it does not require hygiene but this is food, because when you come here I will slaughter for you chicken, I have to make sure I wash it in clean water in a clean environment. That way, even as you go cook that food, there will be no food poison. It will be very safe.”

Every food consumer has a variety of ways they use to identify safe food be it in farms, markets or hotels. In Nairobi’s informal settlement Kawangware market, a lady in her fifties who buys most food products from this market says she has created a network of food vendors who she buys specific food products from within this particular market. Apart from that she also uses her common judgments through observation

‘‘You know good things invite eyes in the market. I also look at the person who sells them and from the look, I am always able to tell this food is safe. There are those sensitive foods sometimes they are removed from dirty places and that has ever happened to me. That is why nowadays I make sure I buy food from those straight from farms. When I buy something like tomato I make sure I wash them well with soap before I use them” says Hannah Muchiri 

    Transportation is one way that leads to loss of quality of food regardless of all the measures put in place by producers. Stella Oboge who sells chickens to individuals and hoteliers in Nairobi says sometimes chickens reach her when some of them have broken wings or legs. Some even reach her when they have died in the process of transportation. She uses brokers in Bomet and Kericho who transports them to Nairobi whenever she places order

‘‘Once in a while some chicken will die because of long distance or maybe because they have suffocated because they have not eaten or taken water. Chickens are always safe because they are only tied on legs and transported through trucks. When they get here, we untie them and place them in this shelter” She says

Being in business, Stella needs to satisfy her customers and make sure they buy from her severally, this she says, means she has to make sure she sells healthy chicken

‘‘Actually most of my customers who come back request that I sell them exactly like the one I sold them last time because when they cooked they found it was good. I only sell (kienyeji) indigenous chicken and my customers love them because they are fed on vitamins, proteins and everything so by the time they are grown they have taken seven or eight months. Such chicken when brought here and you buy even its cooking process is different, you will eat it and take its soup as well” she acknowledges 

               The government of Kenya has set regulations controlling industries/producers for example Meat Control Act cap 356 controls the slaughter and processing of meat for human consumption. Stella who sells chicken has to follow all legal policies put in place for her business to continue operating

‘‘There are those people from the health department who come here, take wastes and saliva samples of chicken and tell us if the chickens are safe or not. What I can say about food safety is, like this my work someone might say it does not require hygiene but this is food, because when you come here I will slaughter for you chicken, I have to make sure I wash it in clean water in a clean environment. That way, even as you go cook that food, there will be no food poison. It will be very safe” She concludes

          The nature of work leads people to hotels. Some walk in to eat food and head back to their workplaces after a meal, while others host conferences within hotels and take meals as well during breaks between conference sessions. Some spend in these hotels before or after they travel to various places, they too eat in hotels. At least, each person once in a while finds themselves eating food in hotels, but who ensures that these foods are safe?  Carol Katuba a hotelier explains how they make sure their customers consume safe food

‘‘We identify suppliers who supply our products be it vegetable, meat and everything. As a hotelier you have to visit your supplier who is your source so when they bring them we have to do a delivery check that must meet health requirements, that means that they have to give you a medical certificate. We also have a person who inspects the food including how they were handled even before they were transported, are the dates in place and then look at the texture of the product. If it is meat they can open randomly any of the containers/packages and check the content of that meat and take a sample of it and take it to the lab. In case suppliers give us food which does not meet specification you have a right to return that product and change the day’s menu. Suppliers should also give prior notice when they are outsourcing products because we have to visit the farm and know how the product is natured for us to get tender and tastier meat free from antibiotics and insecticides” She explains

While commemorating World Food Day under the theme ‘‘Food safety, everyone’s business” June 7, this year, the World Health Organization, WHO pursued its efforts to mainstream food safety in the public agenda and reduce the burden of food-borne diseases globally.

A veterinary surgeon who has specialized in livestock production systems with extensive experience in poultry, says food safety is a shared responsibility between governments, producers and consumers. According to Dr Victor Yamo, everybody has a role to play from farm to table to ensure the food consumed is safe and will not cause damages to health

‘‘The critical thing is to understand that the world is losing about 420,000 people per year.1 in 10 people will suffer from food poisoning during the year which gives it a figure of about 600, 000 people suffering from food poisoning because of poor food safety. Ultimately when you look at the Kenyan context one of the big agenda item for President Uhuru Kenyatta is health and you cannot have a healthy nation unless the food that they eat is not causing negative impact on the population it has” Says Dr. Yamo

Dr. Yamo who has worked in the chicken industry for over twenty years says feed demand changes because of what the animal is supposed to do. However, he insists that chicken must have a balanced diet that is protein, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals and water

 ‘‘In all those things, good quality feed must also be without any chemical that causes problems to the animal whether its chicken, pigs or whatever. They must also be not having any bacterial contamination because part of the problem that we also have is feeding animals with spoilt food failing to understand that the reason why food should not be consumed by human is the same reason the same food should not be fed to animals” Concludes Dr Yamo

Kenyan former prime minister Raila Odinga is among prominent leaders who have ever been reported to have suffered food poisoning. According to an article by The Standard dated March 8th 2017, Odinga was treated at the Karen Hospital for food poisoning where he was treated and discharged. According to the article, Raila Odinga who is the current High Representative for Infrastructure Development in Africa was taken to hospital after he complained of stomach ache.

Health experts say the whole world is moving to a one health concept because how waste disposal is managed has an impact on vegetables one is trying to produce and how animal health is managed has an impact on the quality of product that comes through to ensure only safe food is consumed globally. In fact, 2019 research on consumer concerns shows that the quantity of food that human beings consume, depends on food safety and the production process. This means that food that is free from antibiotics is consumed in large quantities even if they are more expensive.