Several firms have moved to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic by working to provide sanitation equipment to the vulnerable public in order to fight the COVID-19.
Dettol products manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser has donated 7,200 bars of handwashing soap worth Sh500,000 to support handwashing activities as part of the ongoing response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The items will be distributed through the Kenya Red Cross Society.
Among the beneficiaries of the items will be travelers arriving from abroad and who will be under government supervised quarantine in various public facilities.
“We as Dettol support government efforts to maintain high hygiene standards and are cognizant of the fact that these items may be quite unaffordable to a good number of Kenyans, many who are already out of work. “says Treza Kinoru, Marketing Manager Africa Expansion, Reckitt Benckiser (RB).
She added that the company will continue to make its handwashing products available at the normal retail prices and asked retailers not to increase prices beyond the recommended ones.
Dr. Asha, Kenya Red Cross Secretary General, commended Reckitt Benckiser for the donation. She said, “Many Kenyans are facing challenges accessing basic hand washing materials mainly because they are not widely available in shops whereas in some places people just can’t afford them.”
The Kenya Red Cross is supporting government efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 through community based surveillance and social mobilization for infection prevention and control across the country. The Society is offering Psycho-social support to affected families including providing counseling to first line health care workers and call center staff.
Kenya has so far recorded 50 cases of the deadly virus with the government putting measures to stop more spreading, that includes cancelling of international flights.
“This donation by Reckitt Benckiser goes a long way because it ensures that health and safety measures are implemented. The surplus of this will be distributed in other locations within the country seeing that there is a need to work together to support as many communities as possible. We are not leaving anyone behind.” Dr. Asha Mohammed.
Recently the East African Breweries Limited (EABL) also committed to fund the production of 135,000 litres of sanitisers by two Nairobi-based industries to distribute free sanitisers to vulnerable Kenyans.
Amref Health Africa in Kenya has partnered with Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) to distribute sanitisers to households in Mukuru and Kawangware slums within Nairobi. KBL has today provided 400,000 pieces of ethyl alcohol-based sanitisers packed in 100ml bottles that Amref will distribute to households employing community engagement to ensure appropriate use. The distribution is expected to commence later this week.
These two slums are heavily congested (total population of about 702,000 people – Mukuru 492,000 and Kawangware 210,000) and lack adequate water supplies to sustain proper handwashing. The use of hand sanitisers is, therefore, one of the most effective methods of maintaining hand hygiene.
Speaking at a press briefing while receiving the consignment at the East Africa Breweries Limited offices in Ruaraka, Amref Health Africa Global CEO Dr Githinji Gitahi stated that it was gratifying to see the response from KBL urging all other sectors to continue bringing what they have to respond to the pandemic.
“These sanitisers are to be used with the other public health measures which are physical and social distance and handwashing. They are not a replacement for physical distance,” added Dr Githinji.
To ensure that this activity is optimal, Amref will work with the Ministry of Health to facilitate risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) by building the capacities of community health workers to effectively communicate appropriate messages to the recipient households. The CHWs will educate households on the proper use of the sanitisers, monitor their distribution and provide data that will inform coverage for accountability purposes.
Amref Health Africa has been tasked with coordinating community engagement and response, working with the Ministry of Health’s Division of Community Health and other partners. People living in informal settlements are a priority population and Amref is actively mobilizing resources to institute targeted interventions.