KENYA: Catholic Sisters Launch Six Months COVID-19 Prevention & Vaccine Awareness Campaign

By Lourine Oluoch

NAIROBI, AUGUST 3, 2021 (CISA) – The Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya (AOSK) has launched a six months COVID-19 prevention and awareness campaign to encourage communities to get vaccinated and embrace COVID-19 preventive measures.

Through funding from the Hilton Foundation, 80 catholic sisters-run health facilities across the country will participate in the campaign to ensure the sisters champion for the realization of a COVID-19 free nation.

During the campaign period that will run from July to December 2021, approximately 1,500 front line health workers (including sisters) will benefit from various trainings to build their capacity and knowledge on COVID-19. The campaign is expected to reach approximately 5 million people.

“As AOSK, we applaud the Ministry of Health’s efforts in COVID-19 response and recognise that a successful war against the pandemic requires both public and private sector support in advocacy on the COVID-19 vaccine uptake, provision of essential medical supplies, provision of protective gears and behaviour change communication,” Sr Pasilisa Namikoye, the Executive Secretary, of AOSK said at a workshop to sensitize administrators of the 80 health facilities on the campaign.

“Catholic sisters have always worked to improve and increase accessibility of basic healthcare to the most vulnerable in the communities. We would like to utilize our vast distribution across the country, direct engagement in the health sector and proximity to the masses to disseminate COVID-19 information to communities we serve and encourage vaccine uptake,” she added.

According to the AOSK, This project complements the work of the government response to COVID-19.

AOSK will facilitate the 80 health facilities to carry out community outreach programs on COVID-19 vaccine awareness,  train health providers on COVID-19 vaccine, prevention, control and home-based care, and procure PPE kits, COVID-19 test kits, latex gloves, surgical masks, face shields, thermo guns, refilling oxygen cylinders and pulse oximeter (SPO machines).

The Catholic Church in Kenya, through the dioceses and congregations of religious men and women, provides health services through a network of health facilities comprising of 65 hospitals, 90 health centers, and 300 dispensaries with an approximate total of 5837 healthcare providers, of which over 300 are sisters-run while the rest are diocesan/parish run.

AOSK health networks are under the Catholic Health Commission of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), and collaborates with the Ministry of Health to achieve the Government goal of, “attaining equitable, affordable, accessible and quality health care for all.”