Strengthening COVID-19 Response for Kenya: Preparedness, Response and Recovery
Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic has spread rapidly across the world affecting over 200 countries and territories. Globally, over 252 million cases have been reported and with over 5 million deaths and 228 million recoveries. The pandemic has deepened inequalities and continues to threaten progress on sustainable development.
Locally in Kenya, the pandemic, which was report in March 2020 and has since spread to all 47 counties. The country has now reported over 254,151 confirmed cases, 5,315 deaths and 247,527 recoveries by November 12,2021. The country rolled out COVID-19 vaccinations in March and has received 9,763,410 doses of various vaccines by November 2021. As at November 11th, the country had conducted 5,813,553 vaccinations of which 3,842,614 were first dose and 1,970,939 were full vaccinations. There are plans to cover 10 million people by the end of the year, although challenges have been reported in the supply of the vaccines.
The pandemic has adversely affected several sectors of the economy in particular; tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and trade putting people’s jobs and livelihoods at risk. The adverse socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and livelihoods of families and communities, particularly the most vulnerable groups, will regress progress across the multiple SDGs. Preliminary analysis of the economic impacts shows that disruptions in global value-chains and fear of massive loss of export markets. A significant impact of the pandemic is the slowdown in GDP growth, which declined from 6.2% in 2019 to 1.5% in 2020. The impact of the pandemic on the economy has led to to massive job losses pushing large numbers of people to the poverty line.
The project addresses three key thematic areas:
i) Strengthen the capacity of the health system through procurement of PPE’s, medical and non-medical equipment and enhanced coordination;
ii) Address the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 through livelihoods and enterprise recovery;
iii) Foster innovation through digitization to address the emerging developmental challenges caused by the pandemic.
UNDP is supporting the government’s efforts to strengthen the resilience of the country’s health system in terms of local production of equipment and commodities to mitigate against disruption of global supply chains while protecting jobs; capacity building for health workers at facility and community level for better surveillance and early warning; enhanced medical waste management; and raising awareness and responsible communications. This support is complimented by building resilience at the community level by building interventions for the most vulnerable community members. The project is leveraging and complementing development initiatives supported by the Russian Federation in Kenya such as the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital commonly referred to as the Russian hospital. The project is providing support to strengthen its response capacity through rehabilitation of select infrastructure. To address the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on women, the project is implementing responsive catalytic recovery interventions through the provision of start-up kits and small grants targeting women and provide young girls employable digital technology skills through training.
Target Beneficiaries and Their Location
Geographic focus: The project is targeting the counties in the Lake Victoria Region with specific focus on Kisumu County and the border counties of Busia and Migori. According to available information the border counties are hotspot areas for COVID transmission due to the presence of large numbers of long-distance truck drivers from the neighboring countries of Uganda, Tanzania Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo. Community transmission has already taken root in the target counties while cross-border transmission continues to occur. In Kisumu County, the Government of Russia has already made significant investment in the construction of the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital commonly known as the Russia Hospital. The facility serves as the main referral hospital counties in the western region of the county. Focusing on developing capacity of the border counties will not only ensure that cross-border transmission is reduced but also reduce community transmission within the three counties.
Target beneficiaries: the project is directly targeting 12,500 people through the community level socioeconomic interventions and 249 health care workers through provision of personal protective equipment and training. In addition, the project will directly benefit 1,000 traders through e-commerce and entrepreneurship trainings. Indirectly, the project will benefit a monthly average of 6,165 patients who visit the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital for various health services. In addition, roll out of the economic recovery strategy and county re-engineering strategy will indirectly benefit the population of the target counties and the country at large.