By mid May 2020, the number of confirmed cases of Covid 19 in Kenya reached 900 with numbers continuing to increase. The pandemic has shaken our healthcare system. Most of the population depend on public hospitals, which are typically underfunded and inadequately equipped.
As the government puts in place various measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, it is important to make sure this is done within the framework of the Kenya Constitution, and with respect to human rights and dignity. Yet there has been a sharp increase of reported cases of police brutality and killings relating to the recently imposed 7pm to 5am curfew. In addition, the process of combating Covid-19 in different regions and counties has been compounded by politicization and corruption
Covid-19 will continue to change how we socialize and work. IFA operates in rural and marginalized communities covering at a total of 18 counties, where people are faced with a myriad of problem exacerbated by the health crisis, ranging from limited access to basic infrastructure and poor literacy levels that spread misinformation and myths around the pandemic.
The government directive banning public gatherings aims to combat the spread of Covid -19. IFA has discontinued mobile film screenings and community discussions in the counties and continues instead to work with a large network of seventy-seven Community Action Teams (CATs). We also have trained citizen journalists to monitor, document and report on the national and county government’s responses to the pandemic. These include handling Covid-19 patients; provision of safety gear for medical personnel; treatment of the elderly and persons living with disability, amongst other vulnerable groups; and distribution of relief food and resources.
With a special effort being made by all our staff during this season, IFA is committed to continue monitoring, recording and documenting human rights violations; notably, police brutality and killings, bribery and extortion, and incidences of insecurity. We take action by escalating these issues to the duty bearers, aiming to ensure that justice and accountability is achieved.