The COVID – 19 pandemic in Kenya worsens day by day. At first, local COVID -19 cases were traced back to travelers. However, more recent cases are through community transmission. The Daughters of Charity tell us that safety measures are in place where they work in Langata-Nairobi, Kenya. These measures include: limited travel, an overnight curfew, wearing of masks, hand washing, the use of sanitizers, and maintaining social distancing. Soon there may be more rigorous guidelines. Clients and staff at their HIV/AIDS DREAM Center in Langata have been taught how to properly use face masks and personal, protective equipment (PPE). The DREAM health facility is operating daily, but on a limited scale, with a minimal clinical staff seeing about 15 – 20 patients daily.
Due to the curfew and people working from home, cessation of movement to and from Nairobi has led to the loss of employment. Many people, including some DREAM clients of the Daughters of Charity have relocated to rural areas. This has negatively affected some of the DREAM services, especially adherence to counseling, partner testing activities, and supplying essential medications to HIV/AIDS clients. Through their Home-Based Care Program, the Center started sending medications to their clients in the rural areas through courier services. A phone call is made two days after the medications have been sent to confirm clients received their drugs. It is also an opportunity to answer questions and provide ongoing support to encourage continued adherence to patient treatment plans. Clients are contacted by phone for other health reasons as well, like assistance to breastfeeding mothers, and health consults for patients with health complications like hypertension, diabetes, and cancer. This ensures continuity of care for patients, not only regarding their HIV/AIDS management, but also consistency in treatments and taking medications for other conditions and diseases.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused many poorer clients enrolled in the DREAM program to suffer additional hardships and loss of employment due to decline in casual labor. In turn, this has led to food insecurity and serious hunger for individuals and families. To respond to this urgent basic need, the Daughters of Charity have begun a food support project that currently reaches more than 300 vulnerable persons both from their DREAM program and other people in need.