In what could turn out to be one of the biggest challenges in the fight against COVID-19, the disease has already been stigmatized. A gap in awareness about it, plus how the sick, the recovered, the quarantined and the dead are being treated has created a knowledge vacuum that has inevitably been filled with uninformed assumptions and biases. If not checked, we’ll successfully fight the respiratory bit of the illness, and then we’ll be left dealing with a broken people all over the country.
It is therefore no secret that a lot of awareness has to be created for the benefit of now that the virus is still active, and for later.
Awareness and mental health aside, one of the best things anyone can do as an individual in the fight against COVID-19 is to adhere to the required standards of hygiene. And yet, while we know that a few of us have the ability to do that, thousands if not millions in the informal areas cannot. Water, let alone lots of running water is a pipe dream to residents of densely populated areas like Kibera and Mukuru in Nairobi.
Thirdly, our health workers have to be protected at all costs.
The Coca-Cola Foundation, the Coca-Cola Franchise in Kenya and its bottling partner Coca-Cola Beverages Africa have contributed over Kshs 30 million worth of support to Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), Kenya Red Cross and Amref Health Africa to bolster their efforts towards curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya.
The support in form of financial aid, assistance in distribution of sanitisers produced by Kenya Pipeline Company and Coca-Cola beverage product donations to medical facilities will complement ongoing government and community organisations efforts in fighting the spread of the virus.
Ksh17.5 million will go to Amref Health Africa to support health workers working in medical facilities, as well as support for communities by providing water to those in need across the country. The funds will help Amref to reach communities in Nairobi’s informal settlement of Kibera and Muoroto and Kisumu Ndogo in Mombasa and Kilifi counties respectively.
Ksh10 million will go to SHOFCO (Shining Hope for Communities) to create door to door awareness, conducting screen testing in partnership with the Ministry of Health, and to provide handwashing points in the densely populated informal settlements of Kibera and Mukuru in Nairobi.
Other than using its marketing platforms such as social media, radio and TV to create awareness on hygiene, Coca-Cola is also using its marketing platforms such as social media, radio and TV to create awareness on hygiene, and using product labelling to pass on similar messages to consumers of its beverages.
The company is also also providing hydration support with beverages to Kenya Red Cross for distribution to quarantine and treatment facilities for use by patients and medical staff.
All this is being done in line with WHO and government guidelines.