ENGAGING COMMUNITIES TO DEFEAT COVID-19.
Let's discuss how to live with COVID-19 in our homes, communities, and workplaces.
“So let’s do it. If health development does not happen in African communities, it will not happen in Africa nations’ is a statement by Miriam Were, a famed Kenyan Community Health Advocate in the book African Health Leaders; making change and claiming the future. “The path to UHC is integrated people-centered Primary Health Care’ is another regularly stated position by Dr. Tedros, Director-General of WHO. African Union Health Strategy 2016-2030 “calls for vibrant ways of leveraging community involvement and integration” …well as recommending a paradigm shift to assist the Member States in addressing the effects of public health emergencies in a more systematic and comprehensive manner”.
At face value, these quotations sound obvious and undisputed; however, there is no palpable movement in Africa to translate this vision into reality in African communities.
What is palpable now is the effort on COVID-19 where advocacy is about Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs); namely hand washing, social distancing, contact racing, testing, and care including provision of pulmonary ventilators. There is a flood of education messages sponsored by so many partners in the media which are telling people what to do and none asking for the people’s views. What is NOT palpable is the message that all these SOPSs take place within the homes of people, their communities, and workplaces except for the use of pulmonary ventilators. What is NOT palpable are messages that ask for the views of the population and the challenges that they face accessing water, soap, stigma related to contact tracing, isolation, quarantine, travel, teenage pregnancies, gender-based violence, etc.