CFK’s hand-washing program lights up Kibera

In a bid to fight Covid-19 in Kibera, CFK, an organization that is making hand-washing accessible to people living in informal settlements, is running a water, sanitation and hygiene program popular as “WASH”.

Although the organization has long had its WASH in place to help encourage hand-washing by distributing soap and water stations, when the coronavirus pandemic began last year, it expanded and retooled its program originally designed to stop diarrheal diseases in young children to help fight the new threat of the coronavirus.

“We cannot return to normalcy overnight, even when fatality rates appear low… We continue to face a growing number of variants, and with low vaccine uptake in these initial weeks, there is no clear timeline as to when we might reach herd immunity. While social distancing, regular handwashing, and mask wearing have become key strategies in the fight against Covid-19, these guidelines are nearly impossible to adhere to in overcrowded informal settlements such as Kibera,” said Hillary Omala, CFK’s executive director.

Mr Omala said in a statement that the latest surge of Covid-19 in the informal settlement has served as a painful reminder that the more things change the more they stay the same, adding that five to seven people often share a 10ft-by-10ft home. The majority of families also lack regular access to clean water and soap, and masks can be prohibitively expensive for people living on less than $2 (Sh207) per day.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to light many of the health, education, and economic inequalities that persist within countries as well as between them,” said Omala.

Besides medical care, educational and job training programs to residents of Kibera, CFK also offers mentorship and advocacy for young girls in the community.

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