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KENYA/2020/COVID19 and lack of PPE threaten life-saving medical care for vulnerable people in Mathare

MSFALB8536

The spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in Kenya is raising specific concerns for vulnerable groups and people living in precarious situations: among them, the population of Mathare, in the Nairobi’s Eastlands, where MSF has been providing emergency medical services and medical and psychological care for victims of sexual and gender-based violence. The local population’s vulnerability has only increased since the arrival of COVID-19, due to a combination of increased needs for medical care, difficulty in implementing adequate preventive measures, restrictions on movements and the impact of the virus on the local health care infrastructure.
As in many other places in the world, MSF has been constantly adapting its programmes to continue to provide medical care in Mathare. We managed so far to keep our activities running, including life-saving medical services, though we had to accept limitations in order to avoid exposing our patients and staff to the risk of infection.
Today, the global shortage of personal protective equipment is threatening the access to essential medical care for this vulnerable population, by putting our activities at risk. With very limited visibility on future supplies, the imperative of protecting the health of our patients and staff may force drastic decisions.
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