The spread of COVID-19 in Africa is increasing, and there is global concern surrounding Africa’s relatively weak health systems’ abilities to respond to the pandemic. With a lack of clean water in many communities and a society largely ill-equipped to practice social distancing, quick action is needed to flatten the curve. True to our ethos, we are partnering directly with communities and local leaders to ensure that our response is relevant and sustainable.
Public Handwashing and Awareness Project in Kenya
To limit and slow the progress of the novel coronavirus in western Kenya, we have partnered with the Society Empowerment Project, a Kenyan nonprofit organization, and four local health clinics to bring simple handwashing stations (called “tippy taps”) to public areas and inform communities about COVID-19’s risks and what preventative measures should be taken. Previous epidemics across Africa have revealed that community-led initiatives are far more effective than government mandates, and we are proud to have partnered with knowledgeable and passionate local organizations.
To date, we have provided 200 tippy tap handwashing stations, and accompanying COVID-19 awareness training, at 100 sites in western Kenya. Project implementation revealed that the response to these handwashing stations in rural communities is extremely positive and significant demand remains. Our next goal is to install an additional 200 handwashing stations, including 100 standard tippy taps, 50 designed to accommodate children, and 50 to accommodate the physically disabled; soap for thirty days; educational materials; and hand sanitizer for volunteers.
Supporting Rural Medical Facilities in Tanzania
Global Partners is also working with the District Medical Officer in Singida, Tanzania to supply medical kits, which include medical supplies, handwashing stations, soap, hand sanitizer, and COVID-19 educational materials to rural medical facilities. These clinics are underfunded and understaffed, yet they are well positioned for educating communities on preventative COVID-19 measures. They also need personal protective equipment to ensure that the clinics themselves do not become hotspots for the coronavirus.
So far, we have supported ten clinics identified by the District Medical Officer as priority clinics. These are clinics that serve large populations and have the greatest need for supplies. We have also provided supplies, handwashing stations, and educational materials to the three health centers in the region. The centers required more advanced supplies as COVID-19 patients will be transferred there from the clinics. Our next goal is to provide supplies for the remaining 21 clinics in the region.
Global Partners is monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in East Africa very closely, and we will continue to work with our local staff and partners to find ways to effectively respond to the pandemic.
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