NBCC officials together with government of Kenya and partner representatives were part of the Business Fights Poverty NYC Online 2020 where they discussed the actions Kenya has taken to deal with the health and economic impact of Covid-19. Designed under the theme to help people survive and thrive, the NBCC panel discussion comprised of Dr. Mary Mwangangi CAS in the Ministry of Health, NBCC Chair Dr. Myriam Sidibe, Head of NBCC Secretariat Maggie Rarieya, Dr. Gitahi Githinji Group CEO Amref Health Africa, Anila Gopala-Krishinan Global Social Mission Manager at Unilever and Scott Ratzan Vice President, Global Health, Johnson & Johnson.
The discussion focused on how synergies have been developed by stakeholder convergence where they have shared healthcare information with communities, installing of hand washing stations across the country, and distribution of donations to help the most vulnerable through the most acute phases of the crisis. These initiatives would not have been possible without the formation of a national coalition involving governments, companies, civil society, and international organisations. For the challenges ahead, Myriam Sidibé noted “we must move towards sustaining and creating an environment where school children will never have to go back to a school that has no running water, soap, and hand washing facilities.”
Picking from the conversations, highlights from some of the speakers were as follows: -
Dr. Mary Mwangangi noted “Good health and good sense are two of life’s greatest blessings” and thus it is important that we drive these two concurrently in the fight against COVID-19.She further articulated the status of the pandemic in Kenya and the steps the Kenya government and various partners including NBCC are doing to stop the pandemic.
Dr. Githinji, echoed the above sentiments saying “The wider sustainability agenda cannot happen without healthy societies. Health is the basis of human capital crucial for sustainable development.”
True to the saying there is a silver lining in every cloud; Anila noted “The pandemic has brought SDG 6 (access to water and sanitation) front and center. Hygiene is our first line of defense and collaboration is the only way to accelerate progress towards hygiene for all.” She added the role of national coalitions important for driving behavior change and attracts global funders and multinationals that help actualize the interventions run by NBCC and other like minded partners.
Acknowledging the role of businesses in driving change and winning the war against COVID-19, Dr. Sidibe said “I am convinced that brands can and must play a critical role in tackling global health issues.” This in itself is true on the changing role of brands and corporations in times of crisis where those that have resources and or expertise are expected to lend this to their communities as part of their social responsibility.
Indeed the session shed light on the role of partnerships in winning the war against COVID-19 and how these synergies have to be structured, monitored and put in motion collectively for all of us to come out victorious against COVID-19.
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