Updates from the Field: Mfangano Community Health Field Station

April 9, 2020

The Mfangano Community Health Field Station at the Ekialo Kiona Center shared an account on the current activities of the station's team and partners.

People with life jackets in a boat on a lake
Emergency Boat Captain, Walter, and our Health Navigator Nurse, Scholar, after a recent transfer to the mainland. We are incredibly proud of their dedication to their community.

As of April 9, 2020, Kenya had 184 confirmed COVID cases with none documented in Homa Bay County where the Ekialo Kiona (EK) Center has been shut down, however the Ministry of Health (MoH) has requested that we keep our Health Navigation and Radio stations active as essential services for the community.  We are working closely with the MoH to develop a comprehensive COVID plan. Currently, they are in the process of setting up isolation areas on Mfangano Island, and have requested that our Emergency Boat and Health Navigator (HN) staff develop protocols to lead the transport of patients with suspected COVID on the island.  This is a big responsibility, and we are sorting out the best and safest way for us to contribute. Our local staff is extremely dedicated and willing to take on considerable risk to help their community. 

As far as direct University of Minnesota involvement, we have integrated the MPH and MDP students who were planning to come to Kenya this summer into our COVID response teams and they are already chipping in, as you can see below.

Health Navigation

  • Nick Deslauriers, Organic Health Response’s (OHR) newest board member, has stepped into an immediate leadership role to help coordinate the EK COVID Response. He's doing a great job. 
  • Currently we are not transporting respiratory patients until we have full proper PPE for all of our staff. Our team has been able to acquire limited PPE through a local partner, Lwala's supply chain and we are working on procuring more. We are focusing on transport of obstetric and pediatric cases at this time.
  • With support from UMN MPH students, the OHR-EK COVID Response Team is developing the HN protocols for the HN team.
  • EK is setting up hand-washing stations outside EK and the beaches.
  • Educational materials and text messages will soon be distributed to the community with support of our UMN MPH student interns.

EK-FM Suba Radio Station

  • The Government of Kenya has requested all media outlets, including the EK-FM radio station to remain active at this time for accurate information dissemination. 
  • EK-FM is staying on air with a plan to restrict the number of presenters at the studio to one at a time and cleaning supplies are available to keep all equipment clean and safe.
  • The focus of EK-FM is on COVID prevention, awareness and general education.
  • We are working with the UMN MDP students, and Nyika Friberg, to submit an application to Nat Geo for their COVID Emergency Journalism fund, that will support local radio staff salaries and vital equipment.

MOMENTUM

  • Due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya, and to prioritize the health of our staff and that of the community, in-person data collection for the MOMENTUM study has been suspended at this time in accordance with Kenyan and University of Minnesota guidelines.
  • We will continue to do Data Cleaning and Data Analysis through Redcap with the MPH students.

Updates from the Field

Our Updates from the Field Series features messages from the people around the world that are dedicated to the programs of the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility.

Updates from the Field