The Ruben Centre continues its COVID response in Mukuru
Informal settlements, like the Mukuru area of Nairobi, Kenya, are at particularly high risk of COVID-19 transmission. They are densely populated with small informal dwellings, comprised of multi-generational households. Sanitation facilities are often shared, and there is a lack of access to clean water. There are high levels of social mixing, and transient residents. The Ruben Centre is the only health services provider in Mukuru kwa Ruben area, making it a very critical health care provider for Mukuru residents. The facility serves over 350 patients on a daily basis and it also serves as an emergency response point for residents including being an emergency point for COVID-19 area.
Over the past year, the Ruben Centre has adapted and facilitated several interventions to mitigate the spread of COVID and to promote accurate information on the pandemic. Some of the interventions the Ruben Centre has enacted have been:
- Providing protective gear for health frontline workers and community health volunteers
- Establishing Infection prevention and control measures to prevent in-facility infections
- Providing hand sanitizers and hand wash in all health service points
- Setting up and staffing triage points to reduce crowds and expedite health service delivery
- Screening all clients accessing COVID-19 health services in line with government guidelines
- Upscaling counseling services to provide psychosocial support for staff and Mukuru residents
A major issue facing the community is the propagation of misinformation around COVID and the vaccine roll-out. The centre has seen a concerning rise in the number of people who are either anti-vaccine or vaccine hesitant, and rumours have spread that the vaccine campaign and government restrictions are simply a way to control and track the population. Large numbers of people have no confidence in the vaccine and do not intend to inoculate themselves once it becomes available. The Ruben Centre has created awareness campaigns to sensitise the community on COVID-19, including how to prevent its transmission and the importance of vaccines. In addition to posters and flyers in the centre, Ruben FM, the Ruben Centre’s radio station, has played a crucial role in disseminating information to the wider Mukuru community.
We thank Misean Cara, Tomar Trust and private donors for their support of the Ruben Centre, which has supported the safe delivery of essential services throughout the pandemic.