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By Marion Ndeta
July 27, 2020 / Nairobi Kenya

As of July 27, 2020, Kenya has recorded a total of 17,975 COVID-19 cases. Out of these, 285 died from the disease.

A Disease from Afar

It’s been a difficult season. A season that is teaching us to take a day at a time. A time when we had initially deluded ourselves that COVID-19 was for the western world. When it arrived, we termed it a disease of the rich and affluent in our society. The disease has began to “treat us abnormally,” as our man in charge of health had warned.

COVID-19 has arrived in informal settlements, far flanked regions and areas, and now statistics show that among for every ten Kenyans, there is a possibility nine are COVID-19 positive. What has this brought us? Stigmatization!

Without Hope, People Die

We are hearing stories of patients waiting for over four days for a hospital bed; leaders who have purchased land for mass graves instead of equipping health facilities, and government calling for home-based care for the populace. Due to tough economic times, a family of five or more may live in a one or two-bedroomed house with one shared bathroom and living space.

Survivors are often shunned by their own families and neighbors. This is said to be so bad that the survivors cannot even access daily provisions like foodstuffs because their local shopkeepers or grocers will not sell to them for fear of infection. 

Stories are told of patients who have ended up in hospitals and have had medics shun them for fear of infection. Why? They lack protective equipment like PPE’s. Due to this kind of stigmatization and neglect, the government’s drive for voluntary testing has suffered a blow. Not many members of the public are turning up for testing. Those who do mostly do out of obligation. Since the government declared that COVID-19 patients would meet their own treatment costs, there has been increased reports of people who have tested positive and cannot be traced due to the wrong contact information they provided.

Love makes a difference.

Even in the midst of all of it, humanitarian communication through the ministry of Harper Hill Global, we have been able to reinforce government public health communication on preventive measures, adding love and hope, which has seen many persons receive the information with acceptance and compliance. Every time I send out a piece of information on how to prevent the spread of the virus, or help flatten the curve, and talk of it as a show of love to yourself and family, those who have responded have done so with grace – appreciating how helpful and palatable such detail is to them.

Together with love and care, we will overcome this pandemic. COVID-19 is not a death sentence. You can avoid it. You can survive it. You can help protect your loved ones by simply adhering to the laid down measures.

The fight requires all of our efforts harmonized to achieve the good course.

Marion Ndeta is a humanitarian communicator within the Women Arise Collective and came to us by way of the East Africa Great Lakes Initiative. Support her efforts to provide food for the body, mind and spirit in Kenya. Give today!