CARE is quickly mounting a global response to the COVID-19 pandemic – which threatens to overwhelm healthcare resources, particularly in countries with weak public health infrastructures. We are building on our experience responding to outbreaks of infectious disease in vulnerable communities – taking particular note that emergencies, including health crises, tend to disproportionately affect women and girls.
CARE benefits from :
- Strong relationships with national and local authorities in the 100 countries where we work
- Longstanding community links
- Decades of experience in health interventions.
Our response to the Ebola virus epidemic, among others, serves as a model for how CARE supports community preparedness and prevention during serious public health emergencies.
PARTNERSHIP FOR PREVENTION
Globally, CARE is coordinating our COVID-19 response with WHO, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other leading public health and humanitarian actors, as well as national governments, county governments and local community leaders. CARE’s response to infectious disease, such as the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014-15, has centered on bolstering community mobilization activities to raise public awareness and promote safe health and hygiene behaviors. In our Ebola response, we were able to engage effectively, thanks to our existing community ties in countries heavily affected by the outbreak. Our response to COVID-19 will similarly build on close cooperation with community members and local government structures.
COVID-19 AND CARE KENYA'S RESPONSE
CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty.
CARE commenced its humanitarian programme in Kenya in 1968. Since then CARE has built both development and humanitarian programs including refugee operations, emergency response, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), livelihoods, food security, climate change adaption, sexual reproductive and maternal health, women and girls economic empowerment, and youth employability. CARE plans to integrate and implement the following strategic interventions in the various thematic areas to address the COVID-19 Pandemic.
As at November 30, the Kenya Government has confirmed 83,618 positive cases, 1469 deaths and 55,344 recovered which now raises the level of efforts in place to contain the spread. With the fast increase of the COVID 19 positive cases in Kenya, the government has continued to institute stringent surveillance and prevention measures.
CARE places a special focus on women and girls , who often face specific challenges during emergencies. Based on CARE’s experience, we can anticipate disproportionate economic and social effects on women and girls. We are preparing accordingly to support women in dealing with the fallout of a devastating pandemic and its primary consequences.
AIC GIRLS PRIMARY SCHOOL
Delivery of supplies that supports prevention of COVID 19 to AIC Girls Primary School in Kajiado County, Kenya. December 2020
DADAAB REFUGEE CAMP
CARE Kenya Staff disinfecting latrine in Hagadera Dadaab Refugee Camp
AIC GIRLS PRIMARY SCHOOL
Delivery of Supplies that supports prevention of COVID 19 to AIC Girls Primary School in Kajiado County
OUR RESPONSE STRATEGY PILLARS
Building on our existing programming, CARE will provide guidance to the communities and partners we work with on risks, prevention, signs and symptoms. Women and girls remain central to this effort, as they frequently play the primary role in household hygiene.
We are exploring opportunities to scale up safe water supplies to facilitate good personal and household hygiene.
GENDER AND PROTECTION
Recognizing the disproportionate impact of public health crises on women and girls, CARE is working to strengthen the policies and practices we implement in all of our emergency response work. This includes our focus on protection for vulnerable populations, including women and girls, given the elevated risk of sexual and gender-based violence during emergencies. Increasing their (HER) voice and agency as they respond and recover from the emergency
The emotional toll of a global health crisis cannot be underestimated – with effects on both healthcare workers and people who are being treated for COVID-19. CARE will work to bolster the availability of resources, such as psychological first aid, mental health support and other related counseling support services for vulnerable populations.
CARE will draw on our extensive experience in promoting hand washing – a simple and hugely effective measure everyone can take to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Our water, sanitation and hygiene teams – along with other CARE program teams – will introduce or scale up hand washing activities, such as the provision of soap and handwashing stations, conducting hand washing demonstrations, and tackling barriers to good hand hygiene.
FOOD AND NUTRITION SUPPORT
CARE will support provision on nutritional guides to communities most at risk of starvation and together with partners explore opportunities for food emergency relief especially focused to lactating mothers, infants, people with special needs and the elderly. Based on the CARE’s response to pandemic outbreaks, restrictions imposed in quarantine often result to increased starvation and lack of access to basic food.
SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS
CARE is prioritizing the continuation of ongoing SRHR programming, as healthcare systems – particularly in lower-resource countries – are diverting resources to the COVID-19 response. Based on CARE’s experience responding to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, school closures and decreased access to SRHR services are likely to result in increased rates of unplanned pregnancy.