It is a sunny morning, a welcome break from the chill and incessant rain common in Kuresoi South area of Nakuru County. In a homestead in Tinet village, two masked women are seated on stools placed about two meters apart. The women appear oblivious of the face coverings and distance between them as they engage in a hearty conversation.
One of the women is a community health worker, Janneth Chelangat, on a household visit. The other is her host, Evalyne Ruttoh. Evalyne is due to give birth and the two are discussing her plans to delivers safely in hospital. The visit was possible amid COVID-19 restrictions because Afya Uzazi and the county put in place measures to ensure frontline health workers like Janneth could safely continue with their community work, including encouraging pregnant women to seek the health services they need despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Afya Uzazi worked with the county and other partners to create awareness about prevention of COVID-19 and the need for people to continue seeking health services.
Sensitization sessions were conducted in all sub-counties of Nakuru, equipping hundreds of health workers, community volunteers, village elders, religious leaders and youth with knowledge and skills to educate communities on how to slow down the spread of COVID-19, help in contact tracing and address stigma against those affected by the disease. By January 2021, 144 community health extension workers, 1,246 community volunteers and 718 chiefs and other community leaders benefitted from the sessions.
Through this collaboration, Nakuru and Baringo counties were able to quickly adopt national guidelines for continuity of services in the context of COVID-19. This made it possible for community health outreaches that had been suspended to resume. These outreaches take essential services such as antenatal care, immunization, family planning and treatment of common illnesses closer to people in communities far from health facilities,
In Nakuru, Afya Uzazi is among the partners in a new partnership with the county to promote water, sanitation and hygiene WASH) interventions. The partners have come up with a well-coordinated joint workplan to intensify installation of handwashing facilities and ensure communities and health facilities have a reliable supply of water. Other activities include public information campaign to markets and other places with large populations using vehicle-mounted loudspeakers, distribution of posters and other communication materials and a mass media campaign on radio.
Afya Uzazi is also involved in efforts to intensify to prevent and respond to increasing cases of gender-based violence and teenage pregnancy.