Doreen Gumba 42, a social worker for Twende Pamoja. She supports Women and Girls living within communities in Ndhiwa Sub-county western Kenya. Here Doreen explains why Covid19 is likely to reach many vulnerable
families in our communities
Many families particularly vulnerable because their nutrition and health have been very poor since because of the extreme poverty level they have been living in, and they are living in a very congested space with limited access to clean water and health care. The risks are tremendous.
Women and girls will be most at risk. We are already seeing gender-based violence has massively increased since the start of the Coronavirus. Heightened fear of catching the disease will compound the situation.
Husbands are at home with their families all day. The children and wives might be asking for food and then the husband, who does not have an income, will become frustrated and the next thing after being frustrated is the beginning of domestic violence. If the situation carries on like this, then domestic and gender-based violence could become extremely bad in the next month or two. Husbands cannot go out of the house, so the women and girls are living in a pressure cage.
Twende Pamoja Organization is trying its best to make the ends meet for many families even though whatever we have is not enough and the needy are so many and this is why we are calling for more support from well wishers and donors, we need more masks, food, sanitizers, handwashing containers to support, these vulnerable families,
Their life is our concern, these are the next generation. We normally give the most affected or likely to be affected families the first priority. This has really helped to save the situation from worsening. We offer foodstuffs, face mask, and soaps ( hand washing soap) we also teach the girls how to behave and precautions measures they must take when at home during this Corona period, they normally share this information with their families back home and this has really helped in creating awareness on the other way round to the community.
And students especially girls who are at higher risk we give exam papers and revision books to keep them busy as they will concentrate on their studies rather than anything that might land them into a bad situation.
The lockdown is disrupting many vital services. The health centers have said that they will only see a few patients a day. Before the pandemic, they would see more than 30 people. This has been a real concern, especially with the rise in violence and the increase in demand for medical services.
Many people fear what will happen to them if they are diagnosed with Covid-19, and also government measures which are in place to curb this deadly disease are as well stopping people from getting medical treatment and seeking help if they have a fever, wearing a face mask, recording of temperature at the entrance of the hospital as well as observing social distancing.
We are doing a lot of work to dispel fake news and misinformation about the disease and to promote public health messages so that people know how to protect themselves.
The challenge is our little children who don't wear masks even in public and overcrowded places, not for any other reason but because they lack the masks as parents give themselves first priority. Even though the work can be tough, I feel proud that I can stand beside the women and girls in our beloved communities during this hard and challenging time.
I saw some women recently during their table banking, they were making sure they maintained a social distance. Seeing things like this reassures me.
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