Since the beginning of March, COVID-19 pandemic has affected Kenya. Currently the healthcare system does not offer a sufficient number of intensive care units in case of a further spread of the disease. Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases is constantly growing. This leads to the risk of the virus becoming an endemic disease as other pathologies spread in Nairobi slums. The virus adds up to infections such as HIV and tuberculosis, putting at even more risk the health of the most vulnerable populations, among which are the slums’ residents. For those who live in the informal settlements the prevention measures adopted in Western countries are almost impossible to ensure. The population density is extremely high (arounf 100 thousands people per squared km) and people live in absence of running water and sanitation. Moreover, people who are suspected and/or confirmed of COVID-19 infection are stigmatised by their communities, especially in the informal settlements, therefore complicating the process of case funding and retracing of contacts.
Training and awareness
To counteract and mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and the linked stigma, World Friends with the contribution of Conferenza Episcopale Italiana (CEI) implemented a project of sensitization and training on Coronavirus-related thematics. Training and awareness rasing activities on the virus, its diffusion and containment are held at the Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital and in the partner clinics, supporting the ongoing project activities. To reach a larger number of beneficiaries, Community Health Volounteers are involved in order to ensure coverage and capillar diffusion of the activities in the involved communities.
This project aims at reaching the most vulnerable and disadvantaged population segments of Nairobi, among whom are 2.000 minors at risk, 60 single mothers, 60 people affected by disabilities and their famielies, 30 educators and school teachers and 30 members of the medical staff of partner clinics.
COVID-19 health response
At the same time, following the support of CEI, Ruaraka Uhai Neema Hospital is now able to answer more efficiently to the necessities of a higher number of potentially COVID-19 affected patients.
R.U. Neema has been working for years to promote the health and well-being of those who live in disadvantaged conditions, offering quality healthcare services to the most vulnerable segments of population of North-East Nairobi slums. Following the pandemic the hospital has immediately adopted prevention measures, such as the distribution of personal protective equipment, the implementation of a triage service and the installation of soap and sanitizer dispensers.
Thanks to the intervention of CEI, R.U. Neema now has more units in its isolation wing to perform oxygen therapy and a consistent number of personal protective equipment, sanitizers and medical equipment.