Written by Rogers Moraro-Project Officer (HBCC) Amref Kenya
Majority of Kenyans are now aware of COVID-19 and the key measures taken to prevent and protect themselves. However gaps remain between knowing and doing as many keep ignoring set guidelines. From basics of sanitizing to social distancing and wearing masks the appetite for proactive behaviour change has been low
To narrow this dissonance, Amref Health Africa rolled The Hygiene and Behavior Change Coalition (HBCC) project funded by DFID and Unilever in select counties to reinforce the behaviour change narrative in these high risk communities. Chosen because of their high mobility, high population, documented Covid-19 incidences and or proximity to hotspots, Nairobi, Embu, Meru, Kisii, Siaya, Migori, Homabay, Kakamega, Mombasa and Kwale will participate in the project.
The HBCC project intends to reduce the exposure to COVID-19 at home and in communities through hygiene promotion activities aligned with Unilever behaviour change programs. The project will reinforce the capacities of health workers while reducing nosocomial transmission and contamination from health facilities to communities. Further through this project counties will be equipped to respond to the WASH service demands that have been availed for vulnerable groups, exposed collective sites, and public spaces.
Of the target counties COVID-19 response plans are in place and where Covid-19 cases have been reported attention is now shifting to risk communication, community engagement and home-based care. The convergence points of this intervention with the county governments being community engagement (RCCE) for behavior change, capacity building (facility- and community-based), public health measures, IPC and clinical management, and societal response.
Behavior Change Campaign
Driven by NBCC convener The Marketing Society of Kenya and partners; Heroes 4 Change, Shujaaz, BRCK, BBDO Media Project and HandsUp, the HBCC campaigns targets 10 million people in the selected counties. To achieve this, Amref working jointly with national and county governments shall train 7,200 community-based and facility-based health workers on interactive, targeted content to reach mothers, people with co-morbidities, PLWDS and their careers, and the general public. Laying emphasis on simple-to-do actions to protect those we care for and those around us focus will be on regular hand washing, physical distancing, cough etiquette, wearing of mask in public and recognizing
To drive the messages home, Amref has engaged respective health, gender and youth departments on local communication channels through which targeted audiences would be reached. Existing community health structures, mass media and digital information touch points were also mapped. Local and national radio and television stations varied in coverage and language from county to county will also be used for deployment of the mass media behavior change campaign to obtain wide regional and national reach including the low literacy audiences.