As Covid-19 in Kenya surged to 15 confirmed cases as at March 23, 2020 fear sweeps the country. Rarely have so many of us been so afraid. The spread of Covid-19 presents the greatest challenge of our time, threatening our loved ones and bringing uncertainty to our society.
Worst-case predictions have shaken our way of life. Simple, everyday things must stop: freedom of movement, mingling with friends, shaking hands with new acquaintances, or even working alongside our colleagues. However, we are not powerless to stop it. We can and must play our part.
Hygiene remains one of the most important measures to curb the spread of the Covid_19 virus. But high-density areas like informal settlements may be at risk due to poor hygiene practices and limited access to water. An area like Kibera has minimal access to sanitation facilities which poses a challenge in the efforts being made to address the Covid -19 outbreak in Kenya.
As Garden of Hope Foundation we spear headed a Tippy tap project to inculcate hand washing among Kibera residents. The residents are putting on measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
“With just $ 40, we can make simple handwashing stations, such as Tippy taps and ensure that there is enough soap and water for the residents of Kibera. It’s all about coming up with simple solutions that can transform the lives of our communities. Indeed, Kibera is overcrowded but we can curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus by ensuring all public points of contact have enough soap and water i.e. at bus stations, churches, hotels etc.” Says Victor Odhiambo the Executive Director, Garden of Hope Foundation.
“Garden of Hope Foundation is at the forefront to stop the spread of the novel Corona virus by encouraging communities living in Kibera to assemble local hand washing facilities and providing information on how people can maintain hygiene. This is a community led initiative where the community seeks to solve the challenges and compliment of efforts of the government in curbing the spread of Covid_19 . You can donate online to help us reduce the spread of covid-19
The World Health Organization recommends the following measures to stop the spread of the virus;
- Wash hands frequently
- Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Cover your cough using bend of elbow
- Avoid crowded places and close contact with anyone who has fever
- Stay at home/self-quarantine yourself if you have fever
- If you have a cough, fever and difficulty in breathing seek medical care early
- Get information from trusted sources.
Its only through concerted efforts by the government, civil society organizations and community members can we can stop the spread of the corona virus especially in slums. Avoid mass gatherings, shaking hands, body touch, and non-essential travel. You are also advised to wash your hands with soap and running water, cover mouth and nose while sneezing, use face masks if infected, keep a safe distance from a person who is coughing and stay at home if you have travelled to affected countries.
More critically, caution should be taken to ensure alarmist information on social media is not used to ostracize individuals in a manner that could distort the efforts being made to stop the spread of the Covid-19.