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UN, International Community join Kenya in fight against coronavirus

Health & Science - By Mireri Junior | March 21st 2020 at 11:53:05 GMT +0300

The UN Country team in Kenya with government officials and development partners observe social distancing etiquette at a meeting to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. [courtesy]

The government, United Nations and International Community met at the UN Complex in Nairobi to combine their forces in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya.

The meeting comes following calls to action by UN Secretary General António Guterres and to bolster the government’s efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus.

“All of us face a common threat – the coronavirus – COVID 19. This pandemic is a call to action – for everyone, everywhere. It’s also a call for responsibility and solidarity – as nations united and as people united. As we fight the virus, we cannot let fear go viral. Let’s overcome this common threat together,” said Guterres.

The United Nations (UN) Country Team in Kenya is in lockstep with the UN Secretary General’s call to action and it continues to support the government in its fight against the virus on all fronts.

Speaking during the meeting UN Resident Coordinator to Kenya, Siddharth Chatterjee said it is only through partnership that the coronavirus can be solved.

“This crisis can only be solved through partnerships and we stand with the Government of Kenya and its people to fight COVID-19 in Kenya.”

On his part, European Union Ambassador to Kenya, Simon Mordue, said,” We stand with Kenya in solidarity in these challenging times and are swiftly reviewing our support to ensure that funds can be urgently mobilised to support the government’s efforts in addressing the health and socio-economic consequence of Covid-19.”

While appreciating efforts by the UN, Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr Rashid Aman called for concerted effort and unity from the entire world to fight the pandemic.

“Given the speed and scale of spread of Covid-19 that we have seen globally, the entire globe must stand together in this fight against the pandemic and stronger nations must stand by the weaker nations for us to succeed,” he said.

He said the convention was a demonstration that indeed Kenyans can count on the United Nations Country team and International Community as their ally in this fight.

“The convening of the entire United Nations family in Kenya and nearly 30 Ambassadors and Heads of International Cooperation in person and remotely is an incredible show of support and solidarity with the Kenyan response to Covid-19.”

As the COVID-19 outbreak takes hold in Kenya, the United Nations Country Team has continued support from the preparation phase to the current response in the areas of strengthening the Emergency Operations Centre, Coordination and Leadership, Case Management, Laboratory management, Surveillance strengthening, Communications and Resource Mobilisation and Procurement.

WHO Representative to Kenya Dr Rudi Eggers is a key member of the National Public Emergency Steering Committee chaired by Health Principal Secretary of Health.

The World Bank country director for Kenya, Felipe Jaramillo confirmed that his bank has allocated Sh6 billion to finance efforts to fight coronavirus in Kenya.

Intense training

UN has also provided intense technical support to the coordination pillar of the National Task Force that developed the Kenyan COVID-19 Contingency plan, which has become the basis of all response activities.

The UN has initiated an Incident Management System, in some cases repurposing some staff to assist in the COVID-19 response activities. A total of 15 technical officers have been seconded to the Ministry of Health in order to boost capacity as the response activities go countrywide.

One of the major issues during such emergencies is the availability of technical guidelines on how things should be handled.

UN has been able to support the government in training of 34 County Rapid Response Teams and provided guidelines and the necessary tools.

Another group of 32 level 4-5 clinicians from 9 counties were trained on critical care case management while another 33 frontline workers from level 4-5 health facilities were trained on infection control.

The UN also supported the training of Health Promotion officers from all 47 counties.

WHO training materials have been used in the roll-out of training to all health workers across the country.

“As indicated by the WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, governments must do all they can to prepare for an eventual outbreak and respond rapidly to contain and isolate these initial cases: time is critical now,” Dr Rudi Eggers says.

As of yesterday, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Kenya stood at seven since the time the government confirmed its first case on the March 13, 2020.

The government has already stepped up measures in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

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