200804 Big Life Rangers wearing face masks to prevent the spread of covid 19It is now months into the COVID-19 global pandemic, and in Big Life’s area of operation, the fight against the invisible enemy remains in battle mode. Since March, Kenya has had a hardline response to COVID-19, closing schools, putting families in lockdown, and enacting curfews and strict restrictions on travel. The tourism industry, as well as many others, have ground to a halt while reports of new infections and deaths are still on the rise. Kenya has just exceeded 20,000 confirmed cases. As of this writing, 8,165 have recovered and 341 have died.

Back in April, we reported that our established network of 34 Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) were reaching out to communities in our area of operation, educating people on how the virus spreads, how to prevent it, and why staying home is so essential. These volunteers are a trusted resource, who typically work in the community to distribute information about many important health issues, such as family planning.

This work still continues and is as important as ever. Our CHVs have made 5,273 household visits reaching 18,306 people with vital COVID-19 and family planning information in the past 3 months. In addition, Big Life set up a series of 9 meetings with local chiefs, pastors and community leaders. The meetings were kept to limited participants and social distancing was enforced. Information about COVID-19, the means of transmission, symptoms, and prevention measures were discussed in detail. We are also providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), hand soap, and sanitizer for the CHVs and the 9 dispensaries across Mbirikani, Rombo, and Eselengei group ranches on a monthly basis. The nurses and community members alike have received this support with immense gratitude.

Local testing is minimal, so the virus is not yet affecting the community here in a tangible way. There have been 30 confirmed cases in Loitokitok, otherwise, local numbers are somewhat a guess.

As we look to brighter days, we thank our supporters, CHASE Africa, the Leila and Mickey Straus Family Foundation, and Health Yetu Foundation, as well as all our donors worldwide during this challenging time.

Photo: Jeremy Goss

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