The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has drawn attention to the fact that strained health systems, lack of access to clean water and limited hygiene supplies are some of the challenges facing East Africa as the region faces down the pandemic. According to the Kenya Country Representative of CRS, Lane Bunkers, the organisation is working closely with national governments, local governments, health ministries, Caritas partners and other local partners to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the region.
Bunkers stated that in Kenya CRS has a strong combination of current and planned Covid-19 interventions, which are being pursued jointly with the Government of Kenya’s rapid response team. He said, ‘[CRS] supported the Ministry of Health to implement Covid-19 prevention and response activities in and around Nairobi’. Bunker added that the goal is to improve the ability of health facilities and community-based health workers to achieve early detection, isolation and contact tracing.
CRS has supported the training for 30 Nairobi county health management team members and 70 Nairobi sub-county health management team members. The expertise gained in these trainings is then being passed on to another 250 frontline health care workers and 500 community health volunteers, representing all 10 Nairobi sub-counties. In addition, CRS is providing handwashing stations and disseminating public health education material.
‘In Ethiopia, CRS is prioritising efforts to minimise the spread of Covid-19 through close partnerships with the Ministry of Health, local government, Missionaries of Charity, Ethiopian Catholic Church institutions (including Catholic hospitals, health centres, clinics, care centres and schools) and other local partners. The focus of these efforts is on capacity strengthening, training and effective oversight of prevention and mitigation including the provision of gloves, aprons, masks, sanitisers and other hygienic materials’, Bunkers said.
In addition to all the above, Bunkers also said that CRS is focusing on improving water, sanitation and hygiene in all the communities where they work and in health facilities. He said that CRS is also preparing to rapidly scale up to meet new needs or make appropriate adjustments as needed. These needs, according to him, include assisting government and faith-based health systems to increase capacity, hygiene promotion, and the provision of essential protection supplies to health workers and community mobilisers. Bunkers said that CRS will work closely with the global Caritas network to assist communities to prevent and mitigate the spread of Covid-19 and to strengthen local health systems.
Photo source: Muffinn