Covid-19 has adversely affected the mental and socioeconomic well-being of young Kenyans, a survey by AMREF Health Africa reports.
The survey, which was conducted by AMREF Health Africa between April 30 and May 5 across all the 47 counties, in alliance with the Ministry of Health, Population Council and Youth in Action, indicates that the effects of Covid-19, such as loss of jobs, have heightened stress levels among young people, worsening their mental and health well-being.
“Covid-19 is having significant negative effects on the mental health, economic and social status of the youth: nearly a third (27 per cent) are experiencing more stress and 30 per cent have reported living in fear,” notes the survey report.
According to the report, the main source of worry and stress for young people is the reduction of income and job losses amidst rising expenses.
The report further shows 50 per cent of young Kenyans have suffered from a significantly reduced income, whereas 22.9 per cent of Kenyans aged between 18 and 35 have lost their source of income in the wake of the pandemic.
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The report also stated, “34 per cent of young Kenyans experienced increased expenses in the house and 33 per cent experienced an increase in food prices, with more females than males experiencing an increase in household expenses (36.7 per cent vs 31.9 per cent) and increase in food prices (34.5 per cent vs 32.6 per cent)”.
Aside from the rise in the cost of living, combined with reduced and loss of income, another source of stress for the youth, according to the findings of the report, is increased violence at home. 1.7 per cent of the respondents revealed they have been victims of violence at home during the pandemic.
Covid-19 has also come with heightened the risk of sexual diseases for young people, according to the AMREF report. For instance, five per cent of women cannot access emergency pills or sanitary towels due to Covid-19, while eight per cent of men reported a lack of access to condoms.
Youths with HIV have also been affected adversely, with 2.3 per cent saying that sexual risks Covid-19 has cut off their access to ARV medication and 4.7 per cent noting that they are unable to access HIV/AIDS counseling.
Additionally, nearly half of the young people interviewed indicated that they would not be able to self-isolate if infected with Covid-19 due to reduced income or loss of jobs, which makes them unable to afford isolation.
However, most of the young people are not worried that they may catch the virus. Only 26 per cent of the respondents stated that they were at a high risk of Covid-19 infection, while others believe their risk of infection is low or medium.
Regardless of these beliefs, the report shows that an overwhelming majority of young Kenyans are taking the necessary precautions.
“There is evidence that the majority of the youth are adopting positive behavior to avoid being infected with Covid-19,” stated the report.