• They are frontline in the communities, engaging with clients at household and office levels.
• Entrenching this lowly paid cadre in the existing government structures fighting the spread of Covid-19 can yield positive progressive steps.
The effects of coronavirus continue to be felt across all sectors globally with the number of positive cases increasing exponentially as the number of fatalities escalate.
Security guards, besides providing security, are helping to enforce the measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus by ensuring that members of the public wash their hands, sanitize and wear face masks before entering any building. They are frontline in the communities, engaging with clients at household and office levels. They provide deliveries to their clients as well as manage contact points at doors, service areas at counters, desks, phones and gates countrywide. They are at risk of Covid-19 transmission every day.
While private security firms ensure adherence to occupational health and safety guidelines they should train the guards on effective use of personal protective equipment so they could serve as primary government informants to assist healthcare workers in transmitting information to the National Emergency Centre. Security guards could also work hand-in-hand with healthcare personnel in commercial buildings and homes, and refer those with symptoms to health facilities. This would be a big boost to screening exercises currently going on in the counties as well as a reliable strategy on contact tracing of virus suspects.
The guards have been gazetted as essential service providers - but they have since been left out of all the allowances set aside for those helping the government in fighting Covid-19.
Worse still, the same guards go home immediately after work, and mingle with their families ultimately endangering their lives and many others upon interactions.
Entrenching this lowly paid cadre in the existing government structures fighting the spread of Covid-19 is likely to yield positive progressive steps towards the containment measures. A humane approach is what is required by mandatorily equipping the guards with PPE’s, sanitiser, hand washing soap, masks, basic refresher training programs on safety and precautions in the wake of the virus as well as financial cushioning through allowances.
The government as well as social partners and stakeholders need to recognise the essential roles being played by the guards and intervene on this marginalised group.
Founder/CEO- Integrated Development Network