Written by Okumu Sylvanus & Ari Rasori
Combating COVID-19 threats in 516 villages through training of Community Health Volunteers and distribution of handwashing facilities in high traffic places.
The greatest message was from the World Health Organization Director-General who said “our greatest enemy right now is not the virus itself. It is fear, rumors, and stigma, and our greatest assets are facts, reason, and solidarity”.
Late last week, Kenya received confirmation of the first case of COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus and the government implemented immediate containment and treatment protocols across the country including suspending operations for all primary and secondary day schools.
As our public health program at Village HopeCore operates regular, daily mobile clinics in over 200 schools, our public health program has been working diligently to redirect our services to the community in attempts to strategically combat this COVID-19 virus pandemic.
HopeCore’s Two-Step Strategy for Combatting COVID-19
Step One: Distributing Hand Washing Stations to local hospitals and high traffic facilities
As an extension of our Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) Program, HopeCore helps in the fight against COVID-19 by promoting basic hygiene practices. In partnership with the County Government of Tharaka Nithi, HopeCore has installed 10 handwashing tanks in 10 high traffic areas. These handwashing locations have received extensive training from our HopeCore staff on how to effectively wash hands in order to prevent COVID-19 infection.
As with many health facilities around the world, crucial resources such as handwashing stations and personal protective equipment are in mass shortages, especially in our local county hospitals. HopeCore is working to strategically assist in helping provide basic handwashing stations with soap to the local county hospitals.
Providing materials free of charge in times of need is just part of the solution. HopeCore is also working to provide community-wide education on basic prevention practices that will help combat the spread of COVID-19.
Step 2: Scale-up community education and prevention measures by training Community Health Volunteers
At HopeCore, we are lucky to have a very established Community Health Volunteer program and we will be using these healthcare heroes in the months to come to help combat the COVID-19 outbreak in Kenya.
Training Community Health Workers already started this week! What are we doing?
- HopeCore has scheduled an open training session for 21 Community Units where only 10 members are trained per session ( in order to abide by the social distancing recommendations).
2. HopeCore has developed clear training protocols and Standard Operating Procedures to help mitigate infections such as COVID-19. We have developed a PowerPoint presentation that we are open-sourcing free to the global community so that they can use it to help educate their communities.
To access the training video, please click HERE
Places like rural Kenya will be particularly susceptible to this virus because of the limited healthcare resources, but also because at this early time, a lot of our communities are not even aware of the virus. The limited information and spread of misinformation can be very harmful during these times of uncertainty as they cause unnecessary fear and panic among our communities.
HopeCore’s Community Health Volunteer Program provides education and training for over 200 Community Health Volunteers. Each one of these Community Health Volunteers has received a smartphone from HopeCore with an Application designed by HopeCore to help provide daily, accurate information on the COVID-19 community education and response strategies.
In addition, our HopeCore team started implementing these supplemental strategies to help provide education to our communities this week:
- Creating Informational Social Media Posts
- Designing Flyers on key COVID-19 Prevention Strategies
- Utilizing loudspeakers from our HopeCore vehicles to drive around the community to help inform community members about key practices to help prevent the spread of the virus.
HopeCore entirely relies on information and updates from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Kenya Ministry of Health (K-MOH). We will be scaling up our community-wide education strategies to provide the most accurate information related to the COVID-19 disease.
Village HopeCore is working to provide a system-wide approach to mass education and training for community health volunteers. If you would like to utilize our training materials and have access to our FREE COVID-19 Education Toolbox, please email us HERE
If you would like to support our program, please VISIT US HERE
We will continue to update our supporters and our communities on our efforts to help fight this epidemic during the weeks to come. Thank you again for your continued support!