As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create havoc globally, positivity rates in Kenya continue to rise and fall in multiple waves. President Uhuru Kenyatta refers to this pattern as a “’containment seesaw.”
Like other countries, Kenya is trying to manage the Delta variant. Within the slums of Nairobi, poor sanitation and overcrowded living conditions make social distancing impossible. Positivity rates rise and fall causing constant uncertainty which has brought about a renewed survival instinct in the Kenyan population.
The Kenya Government and the Ministry of Health have instituted measures such as wearing masks outside of private homes to mitigate the spread of the variant and shorten the next wave. A COVID-19 vaccine return to work policy for all civil servants has been implemented. Individuals in the government employ are required to be vaccinated so they can resume work physically and improve service delivery. The Kenyan military is required to get vaccinated, or they will not be paid.
It’s been 17 months since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Kenya. One year later, in March 2021, Kenya rolled out a National Vaccine Deployment Plan to inoculate 10 million adults by June 2022 and 16 million by June 20, 2023. At the end of September, 4.5M doses will have been administered. However, this is a small dent in the approximately 40 million people aged 12 and over. It is slow due to limited vaccine availability and challenges with reaching the people in rural areas with the road system in poor condition.
At NRCF, we are adopting a similar policy due to our work which involves interaction with students, families, donors, and other stakeholders. We are pleased that progress is being made as 75% have at least the first dose, most with the AstraZeneca vaccine. It’s our goal to have all staff fully vaccinated by year-end. Fortunately we have had only one student and three alumni be diagnosed with COVID-19. Two of those alumni work at Karibu Loo. The student and three alumni have all recovered.