Community Health Toolkit

Covid-19 preparation and response in Kenya

For those following along with how Covid-19 is impacting Kenya, a CHW in Busia is interviewed in the Guardian:

Here is an excerpt:
"Now, given that thorough handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of Covid-19, the disease associated with coronavirus, health workers are emphasising the importance of personal hygiene, according to Samuel Airo, a community health worker in Busia county, on the Kenya-Uganda border.

This is especially important because the culture in western Kenya is very sociable, said Sagala. People greet each other with handshakes and hugs, and spend much of their time in groups for meals, ceremonies and worship.

Kenya’s government has announced restrictive measures in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus, including school closures, bans on entry for non-Kenyans, and instructions for anyone who has travelled internationally in the previous 14 days to self-quarantine.

A spokesperson for the government said on Tuesday that it has tested 110 people and aims to have testing facilities in each of Kenya’s 47 counties.

County governments are setting up isolation units, but Sagala worries they could quickly become overwhelmed during an outbreak. He added that measures such as self-isolation and staying away from work are difficult for the communities he serves, where many people live hand to mouth.

“It’s not possible for them to quarantine, because they cannot stock up,” he said. “A lockdown will make the lives of these communities very tough.”

Also, worth remembering: "There are 645 million people living in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa, according to World Bank data – and three-quarters of them don’t have the facilities at home to wash their hands with soap and water."