COVID-19

Use local adminitrators to fight coronavirus spread

They are better placed to properly interpret to those who don’t understand English and or Kiswahili,

In Summary

• Chiefs, assistant chiefs and village elders should help people understand the new words and how to behave during this period.

• Kenya Red Cross is using this strategy to reach out to the poor people who live in the slums in Ganjoni areas of Mombasa county

Mandera chiefs and assistant chiefs on June 23 last year
Mandera chiefs and assistant chiefs on June 23 last year
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe is doing a commendable job. He is giving daily briefings — or delegating to CAS Mercy Mwangangi —on the coronavirus situation in the country.

He is also giving caution on how to stay safe and abide by the given directives to remain safe from Covid-19 disease. However, as not all people have television sets or radios chiefs, assistant chiefs and village elders should sensitise people in villages about what the government has directed.

They are also better placed to properly interpret to those who don’t understand English and or Kiswahili, as opposed to other people who might distort what was communicated.

Words such as self-quarantine, isolation, pandemic, epidemic, outbreak, virus, ventilators, social distancing, infectious disease and curfew are not common with many people, especially in rural areas.

The chief, assistant chief and village elders should help people understand these words and how to behave during this period.

They can also identify the sick ones based on symptoms and call ambulances for them. The administrators can also teach their residents how to properly wash hands to observe their hygiene.

This is usually the case during cholera outbreaks. Why is it not happening during this epidemic?

Kenya Red Cross is using this strategy to reach out to the poor people who live in the slums in Ganjoni areas of Mombasa county. They employ temporary health assistants who go to homes to spray the toilets and educate the residents on healthy living, recording sick residents and distributing chemicals used to kill germs in septic tanks and wells.

Administrators will not be strangers when they visit residents in their homes and this makes them more effective.