Coronavirus – Kenya: Team Europe supports the most vulnerable Kenyans with health and social security

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The European Union and its Member States are providing a broad package of health and social support measures for the most vulnerable Kenyans in informal settlements and across the country, through a mix of emergency response and longer term support. This includes the provision of COVID-19 related health services, support for access to universal health coverage, and cash transfers to selected households. The total value of the ongoing health and social security support is KES 8.44 billion (EUR 72.1 million – EU 10 million, France EUR 20 million, the Netherlands 14.6 million, Denmark 14.4 million, Sweden EUR 11 million, Germany over EUR 2 million, Slovakia EUR 117 000) which will also lead to longer term benefits.

Kenya is still fighting the spread of the virus across the country. In response. France is providing EUR 16 million for the acquisition of equipment for hospitals to manage critical COVID-19 cases, such as respirators, reanimation equipment and medical oxygen generators, and EUR 3 million from an ongoing programme to the emergency budget response. France is also supporting sanitation activities among vulnerable communities with EUR 1 million. Germany is supporting the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) to adapt its labs to test for COVID-19 with EUR 50.000 EUR per month. It has also provided two mobile laboratories to Kenya at EUR 110 000 for virus testing, and is providing training on health measures for airport staff across East Africa at EUR 1.7million. The Netherlands is supporting the tracking and reporting of cases of sexual and gender based violence coupled with personal protective equipment for private health facilities, with more than 200,000 EUR so far. Denmark is providing EUR 3 Million in emergency health support for vulnerable Kenyans through the World Bank. The EU’s EUR 5 million health support through Amref and the Red Cross focuses on training of medical staff, public awareness raising, the provision of psychological support services and support to the national COVID-19 response mechanism. In the counties, Slovakia is providing EUR 117 000 for health and social security support to the county governments of Taita Taveta, Meru, Kilifi, Kwale, Makueni, Mombasa, Kiambu, Machakos, Kitui, whilst Denmark is providing EUR 3.1 Million for county health facilities across the country.

Focusing on Kenyans’ longer term health needs the Netherlands, in partnership with the UN Resident Coordinator and the Government of Kenya, has set up the SDG platform to facilitate public-private partnerships involving key private sector partners such as Royal Philips to encourage investments and innovations in healthcare delivery which boost universal health coverage and help to address the COVID-19 crisis. So that all Kenyans can benefit from healthcare, the Netherlands is supporting initiatives focused on digitalization to make healthcare accessible and affordable. For example, through Dutch government investments, Pharmaccess, together with CarePay has set up M-TIBA, a mobile platform that connects payers, patients and providers. M-TIBA allows Kenyan people to access health schemes and pay for healthcare efficiently and transparently via a user friendly health wallet on their mobile phone.  Denmark is also providing EUR 8.3 million of ongoing support for universal health care.

The social and economic consequences of containment measures in response to COVID-19 are affecting livelihoods on an unprecedented scale. Therefore, the EU is providing a lifeline for the worst affected people in Nairobi’s urban informal settlements through cash transfers worth EUR 5million to selected vulnerable households, with an important focus on women, the elderly and persons with disabilities. These are being implemented though Oxfam and will protect families from severe malnutrition and encourage personal hygiene and social distancing measures. Meanwhile, Sweden is contributing EUR 11 million to the social protection and resilience of vulnerable and marginalized groups, especially children through UNICEF and WFP. The programme currently reaches 1.2 million households in Kenya.  

Speaking on behalf of the EU and its Member States, EU ambassador Simon Mordue underscored the EU’s solidarity with ordinary Kenyans: “This Team Europe support is about making sure that no Kenyans fall between the gaps; not during the COVID-19 crisis, not later. This covers a wide range of areas, including health equipment, access to health and also innovative cash transfers via MPESA to the most vulnerable. ”

The EU itself is contributing Ksh 35 billion to Kenya’s response to COVID-19 whilst EU Member States have already provided more than Ksh 3.3 billion (EUR 30 million) – that figure continues to increase. This collective support by Team Europe is a statement of Europe’s friendship and partnership with Kenya in these difficult global times.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of EU Delegation to Kenya.

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