Working with communities to curb the spread of Coronavirus
By Phelix Ouma
Introduction to covid-19
To support the fight against Covid-19, Riana Development Network (RDN), County Government of Homabay, and Local Government organized a public awareness event on 31st July, 2020 at RDN centre in Magina, Homabay – to educate the residents on the emerging respiratory viruses, including novel coronavirus. The event was attended on invitation only – a total of 35 participant, seated at a distance of 1.5 meter apart in an open as per the government regulations. The event was called to order by the Dhiwa Sub-county Agricultural Officer, Mrs. Pamela Otina. She introduced the participants to the nature of coronavirus; as a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). This included a general introduction to COVID-19 and emerging respiratory viruses and what is required of every family member to help “flatten the curve.”
Controlling the spread of Covid-19
Since the mandatory wearing of masks came into force in early April, the communities are continuously faced with the challenge of accessing and affording Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs). Without the correct protection and access to handwashing facilities, the community is at a great deal of risk. Cross migration across community groups in the region is common as people seek to continue their livelihoods as well as accessing health care services. RDN and partners organized this event to provide community members with Covid-19 Compliance Kits which contained personal reusable masks, sanitizers, and water tanks for public sanitization points.
Infection Control and Prevention
With the guidance of area Assistant Chief Mr. Simon Ochieng, the awareness session also provided information on what communities should be doing to be prepared to respond to a case of an emerging respiratory virus such as the novel coronavirus, how to identify a case once it occurs, and how to properly implement Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) measures to reduce transmission of coronavirus within the locality. The trainers provided nutritional knowledge of eating foods like Avocado, Pineapple, Garlic, Ginger and vegetables that can boost the body’s immunity against diseases. This kind of care is made possible by continued farming and accessibility of these kind of foods. The speakers also provided an operational planning guidelines and emergency communication lines for the county covid-19 response desk and emergency ambulance.
The area Assistant Chief highlighted the relevance of the ban on mass gathering in the context of covid-19 with the specific aim of mitigating risks associated with transmission and infection. The government allows a gathering of maximum 15 participants., The Program Manager, Mr. George Orero, clarified the value of observing standard precautions of hand washing- using soap and running water, wearing masks correctly, avoiding touching ones face, and properly disposing of single use masks or thoroughly washing and drying reusable masks. “30% of single use masks we have can compromise the safety of our community if not properly disposed and therefore considered hazardous materials” said Mr. George Orero. The training ended on a high note as participants graciously received masks and other compliance kits.
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