Press release:UN in Kenya Supports President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Covid-19 Mitigation MeasuresTirus Wainaina
Nairobi, 7 April 2020….The United Nations in Kenya has pledged to get behind the Government in the latest measures announced by President Uhuru Kenyatta to contain the social impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The UN has especially lauded the focus given to ameliorating the impact on the most vulnerable groups and populations, including expanding access to safe and affordable water to informal settlements in Nairobi.
“We are confronting a new global enemy and one of the defence artilleries we have is water. Its availability will be a crucial determinant for a successful outcome in this war,” says the UN Resident Coordinator in Kenya Mr Siddharth Chatterjee.
He said that the UN welcomes the allocation of Sh. 2 billion in recovered corruption proceeds to support the most vulnerable, particularly in urban areas and noted that social protection measures are essential to address the unintended consequences of the necessary measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Low-income people have particular challenges in the corona virus crisis, as they have little disposable income to stockpile food. Many make a living from informal jobs that cannot be done remotely, and they are also more likely to be uninsured. In combination, such factors mean that they not only lack resources to prepare against COVID-19, but also that they face a higher risk of contracting and subsequently spreading the virus.
In line with the Sustainable Development Goals mission of reaching the furthest first, the UN says that national responses should be directed towards the homeless, persons with disabilities and families who have lost employment and sources of livelihoods. Other vital aspects would be suspending costs for utilities such as water and electricity, and urging a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent.
The UN has cautioned against police overreach as the containment measure such as the curfew are enforced.
“We welcome the President’s call upon the police to be sensitive and fair, and to strictly abide by the law – this call should be echoed far and wide within the nation, to ensure that the enforcement of the Government measures do not harm the population,” said the Resident Coordinator.
The United Nations Country Team has been involved in the preparation phase and in the current response in the areas of strengthening the Emergency Operations Centre, Coordination and Leadership, Case Management, Laboratory management, Surveillance strengthening, Communications and Resource Mobilisation and Procurement.
UN has also provided intense technical support to the coordination pillar of the National Task Force that developed the Kenyan COVID-19 Contingency plan, which has become the basis of all response activities.
The UN has initiated an Incident Management System, in some cases repurposing some staff to assist in the COVID-19 response activities. A total of 15 technical officers have been seconded to the Ministry of Health to boost capacity nationwide.
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