By Sharon Atieno

With the World Health Organization (WHO) listing Kenya among the priority one countries in Africa with regards to COVID-19, the European Union (EU) humanitarian department has donated around 2.5 million Euros to support efforts by the Kenyan government to contain the spread of the pandemic.

The grant which was donated to WHO Kenya, will boost the response effort in training frontline health workers at national and county levels, and strengthen the current work being done by the COVID-19 rapid response and clinical teams across all counties.

“The grant comes at a critical time when we are dealing with community transmission and need urgent response measures to stop further spread,”Dr Rudi Eggers, WHO Representative to Kenya said during a virtual meeting.

Thanking the EU Ambassador to Kenya, Mr Simon Mordue, he said the EU’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO) funding would go a long way to support WHO interventions in the county and the implementation of guidelines at national and county levels.

“It is critical that health workers in all health facilities across the country are knowledgeable about the various aspects of the Coronavirus so that they are able to protect themselves, their families and their patients as well,” Dr Eggers said.

The ECHO funding will also be used to support risk communication and community engagement activities in areas that have been identified as hot spots across the counties. Additional technical personnel will also be deployed to the counties to support the strategies that have been put in place.

EU Ambassador Simon Mordue underlined the added value of the EU’s collaboration with the WHO in support of countries and communities at this challenging time: “The EU is partnering with the WHO at this critical moment as it is the international organization best placed to provide advice and concrete support to the specific COVID-19 related circumstances facing Kenya, based on its in depth expertise. In this way the EU is helping to find the solutions that will stop this pandemic from spreading.”

This grant to Kenya is part of 30 Million Euros that the EU has provided to the World Health Organization in response to its Global Appeal to combat COVID-19 across the world.

The programme is part of an overall Team Europe response that has seen the EU and its Member States working closely to support Kenya during this crisis. The European Union is contributing over Ksh 35 billion to Kenya’s response to COVID-19 whilst EU Member States have already provided more than Ksh 3.3 billion (EUR 30 million).