February 26, 2021

How We’re Stopping COVID-19 in Africa

Our Response Focuses On:

Our Work on the Ground

Amref is working closely with African Ministries of Health, the African Centres of Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to provide frontline health workers with training on COVID-19, scale up testing, expand community awareness on preventing the spread of the disease and building water and sanitation infrastructure. In 2020, we have built water and sanitation infrastructure for for more than 9 million people across West Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda

In Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Malawi, we are training health workers on COVID-19 response and preparedness using LEAP, our mobile phone training platform that enables health workers to be trained faster, more effectively and without a classroom setting. We are also training Community Health Workers (CHWs) to raise awareness of the virus, dispel any myths or misconceptions, and educate communities on how to prevent the spread of the virus with handwashing and social distancing. In 2020, we trained 111,694 health workers and CHWs on COVID-19 using LEAP. We trained an additional 66,869 health workers and CHWS on COVID-19 using safe learning methods.

We are also expanding testing for COVID-19 in the country and prepping the Amref Central Laboratory to safely handle incoming specimens. We are also partnering with local businesses to reach communities with health education, awareness, and to distribute hand sanitizer and soap.

Other activities include successfully advocating for increased access to safe Family Planning and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) services while countries are in lockdown. We are also asking African governments to protect women and children who are victims of SGBV, and to prioritize hearing SGBV related court cases while in lockdown.

We are also advocating for the inclusion of people with disabilities, people with chronic illnesses, refugees and other often-overlooked populations to be included in COVID-19 preparedness and response plans.

Amref has successfully stopped a number of deadly outbreaks including the recent Ebola and cholera outbreaks in our over 60 years of experience working on the ground in Africa. With our expertise and long-term partnerships with African governments and communities, we are well equipped to stop COVID-19. Dr. Githinji Gitahi, Global CEO of Amref, is President Uhuru Kenyatta’s COVID-19 response advisor, and is on the Advisory Board of the Africa CDC, and the Co-Chair of a World Bank and WHO Global Committee around Universal Health Coverage.

Our Programs
Scaling Up Community Involvement to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

Country: Senegal
Partner: The Nommontu Foundation

Misinformation and myths about COVID-19 have contributed to the rapid spread of the virus in Senegal. We are training CHWs to ensure that communities are informed and understand the risks they face with COVID-19, receive practical advice on how to protect themselves and their loved ones, and that communities understand, can access, and trust scientific knowledge. Training for CHWs will cover risks, preparation and prevention at the individual and collective level (including hygiene practices), community mobilization techniques, support for behavioral change, and management of communication, information and rumours about the disease.

Through this partnership, we aim to achieve the following:

  • 1,000 CHW are trained
  • 3,000,000 people are aware of the risks related to COVID-19 and know the preventive measures they can take
  • The targeted communities receive a package of protection equipment (hygiene kits, masks, hydroalcoholic
    solution, etc) for community use and for health facilities
  • Digital educational tools on the virus are available in French and in five local languages
  • 100 interactive programs on COVID-19 are broadcast by community radio and television stations
Preventing COVID-19 Transmission in Informal Settlements

Country: Kenya
Partner: Kenya Breweries Limited

Through this partnership, we are distributing over 400,000 100ml bottles of alcohol-based sanitizer in Mukuru and Kawangware, urban informal settlements in Nairobi. These two settlements have a total population of 702,000 and lack adequate water supplies to sustain proper handwashing. The use of these sanitizers is one of the most effective methods of maintaining hand hygiene – not only to stop the spread of COVID-19, but also diseases such as cholera and dysentery. Amref is working closely with CHWs, local leaders, youth and Ministry of Health officials to distribute the sanitizers as well as provide education on the risks associated with COVID-19 and how to prevent the spread of the virus.

Providing Essential Medical Equipment to Health Workers

Country: Kenya
Partner: The Rockefeller Foundation

Amref is providing medical equipment to Kenya’s Ministory of Health to strengthen the government’s efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19. Through the partnership, we have been able to procure:

  • 100 hospital beds
  • 300 infrared thermometers
  • 10,000 masks
  • 10 ventilators
  • 5,000 PPE kits
  • 20 patient monitors
  • 10,000 face shields


In Mombasa, Kenya we distributed face masks, built handwashing stations in places with high traffic, and our Community Health Workers went door-to-door, educating families on how to slow the spread of the virus with handwashing.
We helped this market in Arua, Uganda implement safe social distancing and other practices that prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as regular temperature taking and the mandatory use of masks. This market usually provides up to 12,000 people with food in one week.
In Arua, Uganda we trained health workers to safely manage COVID-19 cases and provided them with protective equipment. We also donated sanitizer, soap and other essential items to health facilities in the area.

COVID-19 Report: Six Months Later

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