Coronavirus Prevention Plan
What is happening in Nairobi?
COVID-19 pandemic is representing a further serious risk to children’s health in Nairobi.
We acted preventively when COVID had not arrived in the country yet, using all our experience and that of our Kenyan staff to create the Prevention Plan to face Coronavuris pandemic. Carrying out this emergency plan poses us with daily complex problems. We have found ourselves from one day to the other having to move very cautiously within the slums to respect the prohibitions imposed by the government and avoid creating further tensions and clashes.
Unfortunately, in Kenya COVID-19 is an emergency within the emergency. The virus, the curfew and the lockdown measures have caused extremely serious food and social problems which are proving deadly for a megalopolis where half the population lives below poverty line. Schools were closed for more than six months and students could not attend classes remotely, nor having at least one a meal a day guaranteed.
Why are the virus and its consequences so dangerous for Kenyan people?
Kenyan national health system not only lacks in facilities, personnel, machinery and medicines, but is also private. Most of people cannot access basic care – according to UN data, 4 out of 5 Kenyans do not have access to health care – and suffer from endemic diseases and severe immune depressive disorders, such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and so on.
In Kenya there are only 518 ICU beds, according to Kenya Healthcare Federation and Critical Care Society. Not all of them are fully functional and only the wealthiest people can afford to pay for their stay. In addiction, there is only one research institute, KEMRI, which can analyse swabs to identify people with the virus. In Africa there are 4.5 doctors per 100 thousand inhabitants – consider that, for example, the Italian average is 376 doctors per 100 thousand inhabitants.
What is Alice for Children doing?
Those undergoing the most serious consequences of lockdown are women and children.
Today Kenyan children and families are experiencing an economic, social and food crisis.
During last months, we have been dealing with some basic activities to help slums’ children and families, mainly by doing regular home visits, as people cannot leave their shacks.
- monitored our children’s and their families’ health. With the support of social workers and community health workers we started to monitor children suffering from chronic diseases such as HIV, sickle cell anaemia, and therefore in constant need of medical assistance. We also provided two Health Communities Centre in Dandora and Korogocho with thermometers, oximeters, and basic medicines, so that they can take care of people in urgent need.
- delivered cards and stuff for school activities while the schools were closed and invited children to visit our schools in small groups to talk with teachers and have their homework checked. Now that schools are open again, we have provided the compounds with water points, new desks for social distancing, thermoguns and masks and sanitizing gel for all students and teachers.
- provided children and staff living in our children home with basic medicines, such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, pesticides, antihistamines, and also soap, masks, masks ffp3 for chronic diseases, and gloves.
- delivered food for our children’s families in extreme need. During home visits we deliver flour and basic ingredients to families to cook a complete meal, such as rice, flour for the preparation of Ugali (protein polenta), cooking oil, or various types of legumes and corn for the preparation of ghitheri. Our goals is mainly to prevent or reduce malnutrition, extremely widespread especially among the youngest.
- planned trainings for community health workers led by Neema Hospital staff, to help them to manage Coronavirus pandemic and to discuss about medical or therapeutic issues.
THE FOOD EMERGENCY
The most severe emergency is linked to lack of food.
Kenyan government imposed the lockdown and the curfew for more than three months. These decisions have created severe problems to slums’ families, as adult people could not work and could not earn the money to buy anything to eat for their families. Already in a normal situation, an average slum family cannot feed their children every day and in the correct way.
Now there are families that are actually starving and need our sudden help.