With the rampant spread of coronavirus, a coordinated, organized and tailored response is essential for informal communities.
CFK staff has been on the frontlines addressing the COVID-19 pandemic since the first confirmed case in Kenya in March 2020. From addressing misinformation to installing handwashing stations, our approach is multi-sectoral and has evolved with the everchanging needs of the community. We believe that effective change requires continuous innovation, trust, and happens from the bottom-up. We continue to employ a model of participatory development as we respond to new concerns created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
CFK’s response builds upon our long-term partnerships with the CDC-Kenya, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), the Kenya Ministry of Health, KEMRI, and various NGOs. Through these collaborations, we are coordinating sampling and testing efforts, working to expand testing to additional clinics in Kibera, training community health volunteers (CHVs) on WASH activities and contact tracing protocols, and implementing health and safety measures for frontline healthcare staff.
With experience establishing data-driven, locally responsible solutions, and clearly communicating health information, our staff and community health volunteers understand what works in the Kibera community.
COVID-19 & INFORMAL SETTLEMENTS
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every person in the world in some way, those living in informal settlements like Kibera continue to experience challenges disproportionately. Currently, one in eight people lives in informal settlements, which are often characterized by overcrowding, high unemployment rates, food insecurity, and a lack of access to basic services such as healthcare and clean water, increasing the vulnerability and risk of infection.
People typically have to walk long distances for water, and they are not accustomed to using it to wash their hands. Furthermore, widespread myths and misconceptions about the coronavirus and its transmission can further impede an effective pandemic response.
In these conditions, social distancing and self-isolation are virtually impossible.
CFK has been present in the Kibera community for almost 20 years. Since our inception, we have focused on improving the health of all Kiberans by providing access to affordable and quality primary healthcare services. In 2007, we began a long-term collaboration between our Tabitha Medical Clinic and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor and treat a variety of infectious diseases within Kibera. This dual focus on treatment and prevention plays an important role in ensuring the health of the community, especially during times of crisis.
Beyond CFK’s national and international partnerships, the organization has also built a level of trust among community members. This is crucial during public emergencies when misinformation can spread rapidly. During these difficult times, community members look to respected and trusted members of the community to give them accurate information.