Project Description

Responding to COVID-19 in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Senegal

Project timeline: July 2020 – June 2021

Funders: Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada as an extension of the Canada-Africa Initiative to Address Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality (CAIA-MNCM) project.



Communities in sub-Saharan Africa are facing the COVID-19 pandemic within a challenging context: fragile, under-resourced health systems that can quickly become overburdened; a shortage of trained health care workers; and a lack of reliable access to clean, running water.

The head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has warned the COVID-19 pandemic is reaching Africa “full speed”. Support for vulnerable communities across the continent is needed now more than ever.


To help slow the spread of COVID-19, Amref Health Africa in Canada is assisting vulnerable communities in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Senegal with $3.6 million in additional funding from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.

The response will be carried out in many of the same communities as the four-year Canada-Africa Initiative to Address Maternal, Newborn and Children Mortality project – communities that have come to know and trust Amref Health Africa. This response will specifically:

  1. provide personal protective equipment (PPE), such as medical-grade masks, gloves and gowns, to health workers and health facilities;

  1. rapidly deploy water and sanitation supplies like handwashing stations that are easy to install and maintain;

  1. train community health workers and health care professionals on preventing and treating COVID-19 using mobile and eLearning platforms, including the Leap mHealth platform. Leap uses mobile phone SMS and audio technology to connect users with the latest public health information on COVID-19, educational resources and the opportunity to share what they are hearing and learning with peers in other locations;

  1. recruit community leaders, local influencers, and educators to raise awareness on ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to use the Leap mHealth platform to report local cases of the virus and harmful rumours so community health workers and health care professionals can respond; and,

  1. educate communities about COVID-19 by producing content for local radio stations and print and social media, and posters, fact sheets and banners for display in high-visible areas, with a focus on communities that are remote, vulnerable or marginalized.

Expected Results

The COVID-19 project expects to reach about 950,000 people directly.

Project at a Glance


COVID-19 risks overwhelming the already stretched health care systems of many countries across sub-Saharan Africa.


Our response will ensure health workers have the knowledge, skills and equipment to safely treat patients with COVID-19; provide community members with access to water, soap and sanitizer for regular handwashing; and, share accurate information about COVID-19 prevention with communities.

Expected Results

About 950,000 people will be reached directly with education and prevention measures.