Nasio Trust COVID-19 response: Update 21st March 2020
Nancy Hunt, our CEO, is currently in Kenya and coordinating Nasio’s response on the ground to the pandemic. The first cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in Kenya and Nasio is taking proactive steps to prevent the spread of the virus and protect the health and wellbeing of the Mumias and Musanda communities.
Initially Nancy herself had to self-isolate as a precaution following Kenyan government instructions because she’d just arrived from the UK, a country which already had confirmed Coronavirus cases. Where power outages and mobile signal allowed Nancy continued to direct action, also keeping us updated here in the UK. Nancy’s now working tirelessly alongside the Kenyan team to ensure Nasio provide the required support in the region.
Here are Nancy’s updates on Nasio’s crucial COVID-19 intervention work in Kenya.
Awareness and handwashing:
We are partnering with the government to train our staff to sensitize communities in the Mumias and Musanda region on health-promoting behaviors and to help combat misinformation. This includes locating and contacting more isolated and vulnerable members of the communities that might otherwise be missed.
A hand sanitization campaign has been put into action. Five handwashing stations have been set up where demonstrations are being given to educate everyone on how to ensure they wash their hands thoroughly. Some images below.
Please consider donating to help us continue this vital work.
Nasio Trust have set up a local helpline to use to get help if anyone suspects any infection. This 24/7 helpline will provide the region with crucial trustworthy information and follow-up support. There’s even been talk of providing T-shirts with the helpline numbers printed on to bus drivers to help spread the word.
As well as being crucial in reducing the likelihood of onward infection, the helpine will be a valuable method we can use to map the spread of the disease in the region in order to share with the health authorities.
Data collection / case finding:
We are working with the Ministry of Health to collect data on how many people (logging their gender, age and location) have been educated in handwashing techniques. We will also, as required, when any suspected cases are reported, help make everyone aware and help get the required quarantine in place. Over 540 people visited our handwashing education stations on the first day on Saturday.
(First day’s data on number of people: Buhuru: 42; Gmk: 44; Musanda: 248; Sabatia: 104; Mumias: 106)
The local team have given bars of soap to those who came. The crucial importance of soap and water as the best way to combat the spread of this virus is a message we are continually repeating.
UK medical student support:
Tabitha and Jacob, who were spending time at Nasio’s hospital for their medical elective, have been assisting in setting up and running our handwash sanitization campaign. We are very grateful for their support at this critical time and we wish them well as they now fly back to the UK having been recalled by the NHS to assist in fighting this pandemic in the UK.
With the schools currently closed in Kenya, for the next 30 days at least, our peer education programme is also being stepped up to ensure that young people are aware of the dangers of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. We are handing out condoms and educating young people on the risks of unprotected sex to avoid a spike in youth pregnancy rates and STDs.
Our health clinic is stocking up on medical supplies and protective gear as well as setting up isolation units in anticipation of patients with coronavirus symptoms.
Community food programme:
With the schools currently closed many vulnerable children will no longer get the one meal a day at school which for many is their only nutrition so the Nasio team are identifying the most vulnerable and arranging a food collection programme. Families are being asked to stagger the times they collect their daily meal to reduce possible cross-contamination. For a few families where it’s too far for them to come to collect a meal each day we will provide them with enough food for a week.
Hardworking Nasio team:
All of this is being achieved with a staff of only 80 so Nancy is also ensuring that staff aren’t burning out with over work by having a rota in place to make sure staff have some time off to recover and rest as needed. Rooms have also been set up near the hospital where staff can stay and rest, or isolate, if needed. And all of this is being done amid the usual regular power cuts.
We have an amazing, dedicated and hard-working team in Kenya. Thank you so much, you are incredible! We are keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers in these tough times.
Take care and stay safe everyone.