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:
provide personal protective equipment (PPE), such as medical-grade masks, gloves and gowns, to health workers and health facilities;
rapidly deploy water and sanitation supplies like handwashing stations that are easy to install and maintain;
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;
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,
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.
The COVID-19 project expects to reach about 950,000 people directly.