Article by Raymond Obare, HBCC Project Communications lead
Davis Arere and Doris Osano are two of the 12 Public Health Officers (PHOs) who have been trained on COVID-19 by Amref as part of the ‘Mums Magic Hands’ programme in Mombasa.
Together with other PHOs, they have been passing the knowledge and information gained to Community Health Workers (CHWs) to cascade to the community, including mothers.
“Initially, I viewed the interventions of hand washing, wearing masks, physical distancing, and coughing etiquette as mere government talk. But having gone through the training, I am now more aware that everyone needs to take personal responsibility if we are to win the war on COVID-19,’’ says Davis Arere, a Public Health Officer attached to Mvita Sub-county.
Davis says that after the COVID-19 training, he went to share the knowledge with CHWs based in Kiembeni Ward in Kisauni Sub-county.
“With the tools we have been exposed to, passing the skills down has been much easier and we have been able to communicate and reinforce key messages with the mothers in our community. Mothers are indeed our superheroes in the communities we live in. Our mothers’ hands mean everything from cleaning, cooking, instilling discipline among others. Mothers are the pillar of our homes!” said Davis.
Doris Osano who was part of ToT training passes on the knowledge gained to mothers at Kiembeni, Mombasa
Doris Osano, also a Public Health Officer shares the similar sentiments as her fellow trainee.
‘‘Mum’s Magic Hands training has expanded our collective capacity. My ability to relay this information has been elevated significantly. By empowering our mothers, they feel like they own this initiative and in doing so, we are able to tag them as Mama Bomba (Heroic Mums),
a sure win strategy because in a subtle way, the concept gives the mother a unique responsibility to help keep the COVID-19 curve flat,’’ she explains.
Asha Juma, a mother and a five-year CHW veteran who resides in Mtopanga has benefited from Davis and Doris teachings and has gone ahead to share the same with her community.
‘‘I do it with pride, I do it with a passion and for me it’s not a job, it’s a calling, one whose badge I wear proudly and confidently. Sadly, with all our efforts, there are still irresponsible people, the onus is on us to make sure we keep encouraging them to adhere to the COVID-19 prevention measures,’’ she concludes.
The ‘Mums Magic Hands’ approach is designed to encourage handwashing with soap and water at key times to prevent the spread of diseases in affected communities and was originally developed by Unilever. It borrows from the fact that mothers are the key to a healthy and strong family free from COVID-19 and appeals to them and other caregivers to go an extra mile in ensuring their households keep Coronavirus at bay.