COVID-19: The Community Health Worker Response

by Noah Wekesa

Community Health Workers have been making use of the Ministry of Health training content on COVID-19 as brought to them using the Amref Health Africa mobile learning platform – Leap and mobilising other CHWs on the platform. Their reception to the information on the ground was immediate.

The first and most essential step the Community Health Workers (CHWs) took after their training was providing handwashing stations at various points in their communities including their link facilities, households, market centres and wherever else they deemed necessary for hygiene promotion.

In Suguta, Samburu County, Stella Longor shared a picture of a leaky tin installed by the roadside saying, “We care even for the passersby who are not in our households since Suguta is an entry point from Laikipia County.”

We care even for the passersby who are not in our households since Suguta is an entry point from Laikipia County.

In Makueni, a simple no-hands tippy tap, championed and documented for replication by Francis Mutia, Health Promotion Officer in Emali, is an admirable innovation with minimal surface contact. The CHWs set up the tippy taps around their community units to encourage handwashing.

A simple no-hands tippy tap

In Kakamega, CHWs like Winfred Luyeku visited households to sensitize them on proper handwashing where children were excited to practise and share the information with their friends.

A child practising handwashing during community sensitisation.

Stella from Samburu tells us about the role she has taken up at her link facility concerning COVID-19, including demonstrating proper handwashing and screening for symptoms.

Stella, a community health work screening the Chief Officer from Samburu County

“I am so excited. Today I screened our able Chief Officer, from the Samburu County Health Department, Mr Nakope, who applauded me for being confident and strict on everyone following the proper procedure. I showed him how to wash his hands properly and asked him about his recent travels and if he had come into contact with any suspected case of the virus. I also screened Mr Lekipaika, from the National Assembly who had recently travelled and took his contact information for follow up. My role as a CHW remains to follow up and report in case of any need.”

“We are trying to keep distance as we give health talks. Here our Public Health Officer George and Community Health Assistant Nancy are taking us through a weekly reporting tool for COVID-19.” – Juliana Kingoro, CHW Juakali A, River Bank, Tassia 1 and 2 Units linked to Embakasi Health Centre.

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Residents of Tassia being taken through COVID-19 weekly update
“Demonstrating proper handwashing.” – Evalyne, CHW Riverbank Unit, Embakasi East, Nairobi

Using the Leap mobile learning platform, health workers are being trained to identify, isolate and refer suspected COVID-19 cases as well as maintain safety standards at points of entry or high-risk areas to prevent possible transmission. Equipped with this knowledge, CHWs continue to reach households that are far removed from the formal health system, helping to prevent the spread of the disease.

Amref already has 50,000 health workers on the platform and is enrolling more to reach rural and remote areas across the country.

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1 comment

Arthur William Okero Obare April 5, 2020 - 4:43 pm

The Community Health Workers doing a good job. Looking forward to sharing experiences in sanitation marketing and hygiene as well as leaving no one behind in water supply and sanitation schemes.

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