John Aholo was one of the trained CHV during the WASH First sensitization program targeting CHVs in Uthiru Ward of Kabete Sub county. He narrates on how he decided to convince some of the colleagues to form a group, Uthiru Rescue Team. The group was to focus on supporting members of the community to get more information about Covid 19 and above all reach out to community functions like harambees, burials and weddings to ensure MOH guidelines are observed.
At first, I used to feel like I made a wrong choice too forming the group since it was a volunteer movement which also would cost us resources from our own pockets. But in the Month of August the area MCA partnered with is and he was able to provide us with reflector jackets, masks and enough sanitizers to give out. This created a huge influence since as we moved in the communities, now we were able to provide the masks and sanitizers especially to the vulnerable. Later the county government also supported us with the test kits for temperatures check ups to help us refer suspected cases. More people are now will to come for temperature check ups even the children and this really shows the willingness of people to ensure they are safe. As a result, within a short span we have been identified as Covid 19 sensitization champions in our community.
Currently, we have reached about 31 social gatherings apart from the normal meetings that we hold on regular basis at the health facilities. We have also expanded our programs since we noted more needs from the community and are offering now first aid sessions at community level.
We realize that even as this happens, there is need to have more masks and sanitizers since we have noted more vulnerable members in the communities who could prefer set food on their tables than purchase mask, soaps and sanitizers. Also stigma for Covid 19 patients and their extended families is on the rise. For instance, I personally lost my uncle through Covid 19, and when people realized it many have since been avoiding us and spreading news that we are all infected. “Whereas, it is good to take precaution upon some of our kins passing away, it is fair that we realize Covid is all around us. And not to some specific category of people” he says. This stigma is now making those families whose loved ones dies of Covid 19 to hide the information thus can easily led to a hike in its spread. Since we are now provided with vaccines there is need to increase their uptake since most people do not have enough knowledge about them thus very skeptical to being injected.
Looking forward I would like to request more trainings at the community level and also follow ups since for sure, people have started to realize need to keep safe. The bets target areas will be schools, churches, barazas, community leaders/gate keepers and market places, since you understand here we have many markets around. The vaccination program should also be properly promoted by the county government and partners like KEWASNET to ensure increase for vaccine uptake and address issues of stigma around vaccine injections. For the vulnerable people and especially children, there is need to continually supply them with masks and sanitizers if possible and this we shall appeal to well wishers and donors to really help this people since many of them undergo financial difficulties.
As John concludes, he says this, KEWASNET you came at the right time. You were like an eye opener and since your coming we have seen more efforts from our area MCA and county government in strengthening our capability to fight Covid 19