Charles Gichuhi and Josephine Aska, residents of Nyeri County, have hearing disabilities and Covid-19 has added a layer of complications around their daily living. Under normal, day-to-day circumstances, people with hearing difficulties face numerous challenges in social interaction and inclusion while seeking health services. Covid-19 has created many issues that -able-bodied people wouldn’t consider, for example, people with hearing disabilities rely on facial expressions and lip reading to communicate and facemasks block these important visual cues.
Additionally, a lot of information on Covid-19 is shared on television and radio, including Kenya’s daily briefings on the pandemic. Deaf people and those with hearing difficulties face a challenge in accessing such information promptly as many of them don’t own television sets and even when they do, not all channels have sign language interpreters, further alienating them from the communication loop.
Amref has been conducting educational forums specifically targeted at people with hearing disabilities giving them Covid-19 awareness information and training them on how to communicate information to other people with hearing disabilities. Charles and Josephine took part in the educational forums. Through social media platforms such as Facebook and other social groups for people with hearing disabilities, they are now able to share information on the disease and its symptoms. Through the training, they shared what they learnt how to better protect themselves from contracting Covid-19 and knowledge on asymptomatic cases and other aspects of the prevention tips that they were not previously aware of.
COVID-19 imposed travel restrictions and tightening of border controls have made human trafficking more difficult for criminal syndicates. This has resulted in a lull in human trafficking activities or in situations where migrants are left stranded by the traffickers. The underlying causes for migration, however, remain and the demand for human trafficking can only be expected to increase in the future, as COVID-19 will likely cause a socio-economic downturn and increased poverty in many countries. Human trafficking can be expected to become even more profitable, while the risks to migrants are also increasing.
“The rising trend in transnational organised crime in Africa is worrying”, the EU Ambassador Simon Mordue said, “as crime goes hand in hand with corruption, money-laundering and –in some cases- terrorist financing. These phenomena undermine socio-economic development and the good functioning of public institutions. All this runs counter to the objectives of our very substantial EU development co-operation efforts, which are intended to help our African partner countries fight poverty and instability”.
Read more about the effects of Covid-19 on transnational organised crime, courtesy of a virtual conference held by the EU Delegation to Kenya, acting in coordination with the ENACT project, here:
One of the biggest challenges to public health communication in tackling #COVIDI19 has been misinformation. The rumours have ranged from the plausible, accompanied by credentials of alleged medical professionals to the absurd. BORESHA (Building Opportunities for Resilience in the Horn of Africa) a consortium, together with other partners, has taken the lead in spreading factual and consistent information in the face of a period marked by misinformation, falsehoods and half-truths. This initiative has been prioritised to dispel common local myths that if left unchecked will continue to hinder effective community responses to Covid-19. Through radio programmes including panel discussions with experts, talk shows where listeners can call-in, accurate information is being spread as part of Covid-19
“All the messages are prepared in close consultation of the public health officials in order to disseminate the correct information and the preventative measures people can take to stop the spread of COVID-19,” says Abdi Mohamed, BORESHA Senior Coordinator.