HopeCore’s COVID-19 Response
Ari Rasori, Director of Public Health Program Development, Walter Echesa, Public Health Coordinator , Okumu Sylvanus, Grants & Fundraising Officer, & Anne Riitho, HopeCore Board Member.
View printed report HERE
Since the first coronavirus (COVID-19) cases were detected in Kenya back in early March, HopeCore has been at the forefront of COVID-19 response. As with many resource-limited areas of the world, places like Kenya will be impacted disproportionately as the already overburdened healthcare system will continue to demonstrate a limited capacity for responding to local outbreaks of the COVID-19 virus.
Since March, HopeCore has been diligently and consistently scaling up its efforts to prepare rural communities to help prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19.
HopeCore’s approach to COVID-19 is similar to our program model which is related to the “Three Legged African Stool”: without the balance of all 3 legs, the stool does not stand supported. Continuing this model into our COVID-19 efforts, HopeCore has addressed the COVID-19 pandemic from a holistic approach focusing on three different legs:
1) COVID-19 Health Education
2) COVID-19 Resource Provision
3) COVID-19 Community Services
1. COVID-19 Education:
During the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic, HopeCore recognized that in our rural region, it would be imperative to promptly design and implement a strong education campaign for COVID-19 that is culturally appropriate and pertinent to the local needs of the community members.
The HopeCore team designed and implemented a COVID-19 Resource Toolkit that was displayed on our website and open-sourced for free to the general public.
- Training Presentation/Slides for Community Health Workers on COVID-19
- Educational Flip Chart on COVID-19
- Social Media Campaign resources for COVID-19
- Educational Flyers and Documents on key COVID-19 messaging
The Ministry of Health in Kenya recognized HopeCore’s efficient and timely response with these educational resources and asked that HopeCore share these critical resources with other regional NGOs and public health programs.
Community Sensitization & Engagement
Our monitoring and evaluation department carried out a survey on the level of compliance to government directives in the fight against COVID-19. The results showed poor compliance and so HopeCore embarked on a widespread community sensitization response using loudspeakers in collaboration with the National Government Administrative Authority (NGAO) in an effort to achieve near 100% adherence to the COVID-19 preventative measures.
2. COVID-19 Resource Provision
Water, Sanitation & Hygiene- WASH
The WASH program has been at the forefront of the war against COVID-19 through education of communities on the importance of hygiene & sanitation, and installation of handwashing stations.
WASH interventions are critical in the response for COVID-19. Thankfully, HopeCore has a robust and well-maintained WASH program and was quick to jump on the opportunity to assist the community with improving sanitation opportunities for the general public as well as the surrounding medical facilities.
HopeCore’s Water, Sanitation & Hygiene response includes:
- Distribution of 30 water tanks to high trafficked areas such as hospitals, clinics, bus stations, and community markets
- Distribution of 130 liters of soap, made by our HopeCore Micro Enterprise client
In addition to the distribution of water tanks and hand washing tanks throughout the community, the WASH team at HopeCore has been conducting daily education to communities through loudspeaker announcements, posting of 2,000 posters on COVID-19 prevention and taking shifts at the water tanks to seize the opportunity to educate community members on the importance of hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and social distancing.
Personal Protective Equipment
There has been a global shortage of Personal Protective Equipment and this is also the case for our rural regions in Kenya.
Several weeks ago, the HopeCore team reached out to one of our Micro Enterprise clients who owns and runs his own tailoring business. He agreed to make 500 masks for HopeCore which were distributed to HopeCore staff and community health volunteers in addition to supplying community members with masks at a subsidized price.
3) COVID-19 Community Health Services
Community Health Volunteer Education and Training Program on COVID-19
HopeCore now works with over 700 community health volunteers for COVID-19 response. CHVs are members of the community and live, work, and provide health education within the communities that they reside. Because they are local residents, CHVs are often the first line of defense in disease outbreaks and are better equipped to share targeted health messages and behavior change practices.
HopeCore trained over 700 Community Health Volunteers in five sub-counties of Tharaka Nithi county on covid-19.
As of May 12th, 2020, HopeCore has printed and distributed, COVID-19 flip charts to the 700 Community Health Volunteers (CHVs). CHVs use these flip charts to help educate community members during home visits on COVID-19 preparedness, prevention, and response.
The CHVs to-date have visited 13,669 households with the flip chart since the start of the campaign 3 weeks ago.
Reopening of HopeCore Clinic
COVID-19 continues to pose a grave danger to all populations particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa where overburdened health systems continue to struggle with the scarcity of human and financial resources. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that basic healthcare services continue to be provided particularly to high-risk populations such as pregnant women, children under 5 years of age, and those with chronic illnesses.
Village HopeCore plans to address these challenges by creating access to health services through our Office-Based Community Clinic in Chogoria town. This would allow women and children to access free quality services i.e. treatment and laboratory services.
As we reopen the clinic, we need to ensure the safety of our clients and that of HopeCore’s clinical staff. We have developed a strategy that defines and guides on how each patient shall be handled from triaging point outside the building where they will be screened for COVID -19 symptoms i.e. fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
There is a need for Personal Protective Equipment for the 12 clinical staff to enable them to attend to the clients safely at HopeCore’s Community Clinic. These items range from masks, face shields, gloves, infrared thermometers, and hand sanitizers.
To support our efforts in COVID-19 response and community health promotion, you can make a donation to our COVID-19 HopeCore Response program HERE.
As COVID-19 continues to spread, the future has never felt so unpredictable. These are challenging times for all of us and we hope you are safe and in good health.