WASH First: Community Health Volunteers Training- Testimonials

KEWASNET, with support from SIMAVI international and in partnership with the Department of Health Services, Kiambu County, trained 1260 Community Health Volunteers spread across 12 sub-counties in Kiambu on Covid-19 safety-related information ranging from infection Prevention and Control, chain of transmission, referral system, home-based isolation to hygiene promotion. The training was quite successful and here is what some beneficiaries had to say:

Esther Njeri is a farmer based in Tigoni sub-county, Kiambu, Kenya. Also, she regularly volunteers for community health programmes to support the prevention of infections within Tigoni.

Esther Njeri, Community Health Volunteer from Tigoni, Kiambu

Since Covid-19 started to spread in Kenya, I have not come across any positive cases. Nevertheless, I have been ensuring my community stays safe. I have trained on how to set up a hand-washing station within the homesteads and teaching the community members how to properly put on a mask. Although this has been successful, the main challenge I face is to ensure community members adhere to Covid-19 regulations with an understanding for their safety; not because they can be arrested if they do not. Doing it out of fear is not helping because it shows that they do not take their health and neighbors seriously. However, in this training, I have learned to improve my approach by prioritizing making the community members understand that washing hands, wearing a mask, sanitizing, and not being in crowded places is not a punishment. I am confident that this will help. I am grateful to the organizers of this training. I believe it was timely because we are still dealing with Covid-19. With the information of the spread of other variants, we must remind the community to remain adherent. There is no better way to pass this message across than through the CHVs”, said Esther.

Gladys became a Community Health Volunteer in 2019 after undergoing training on the same at Wangigi Hospital, Kiambu. The 62-year old was inspired to become a CHV because of her passion to serve the community with knowledge and skills she has acquired works. Following the spread of Covid-19, has been training community members at Reli how to make homestead handwashing stations using jerricans (Mtungi) and simple taps. Also, during community outreach and registration visits, she has been ensuring that people wear masks.

Gladys Kuria demonstrating on handwashing during CHVs training in Uthiru

We have tried our best to contribute to efforts fighting the spread of Covid-19. Unfortunately, some people do not believe Covid-19 exists simply because no one within their circle has been a victim. However, this does not deter me. Together with our CHVs at Reli ward, we shall continue to spread the word and teach on safety measures. This training has shown us that we are important in curbing the spread of Covid-19 at the community level and there is a need to improve our strategy to specifically target school children who resumed learning. I am grateful that I was involved in this training and I am confident that what I have been reminded of and learnt on Fighting Covid-19 will lead to performing my role as a CHV better”, said Gladys Kuria.

About WASH-First

The WASH-First project envisions a society that prioritizes easy access to water, sanitation, and hygiene services especially to the vulnerable. Funded by SIMAVI International and implemented in Kiambu, Nairobi, and Kajiado, WASH First is undertaking several activities including procuring and distributing Covid-19 safety supplies for institutions (health & learning), designing and distributing Covid-19 safety materials for institutions (health & learning), distributing menstrual hygiene management kits to vulnerable girls, constructing hand-washing stations, and mass-messaging systems to promote service delivery in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene sectors.

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