Africa, Health

The UN and International Community united in fighting COVID-19 in Kenya

The United Nations Country team in Kenya hosted a meeting on responding to the COVID 19 pandemic with the Government of Kenya and development partners observing social distancing etiquette. Credit: UNIC Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 20 2020 - The Government of Kenya, United Nations and International Community convened today at the UN Complex in Nairobi to combine their forces in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya.

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

Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator to Kenya, said: “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.”

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

The World Bank country director for Kenya, Felipe Jaramillo confirmed that his bank has allocated US$60 million to finance efforts to fight coronavirus in Kenya.

The United Nations is providing 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. United Nations has been able to support the MOH 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 13th of March 2020. The Government of Kenya has already stepped up measures in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The United Nations Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres has said, “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”.

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.

The 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 mobilized to support the government’s efforts in addressing the health and socio-economic consequence of Covid-19.”

Today’s convening clearly demonstrated that the people of Kenya can count on the United Nations Country team and International Community as their ally in this fight.

Dr. Rashid Aman, the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Health, stated, “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. The Government of Kenya appreciates the UN Country Team, World Bank, EU, and other Development Partners from the International Community for their support and solidarity.”

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