About KANCO

The Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO) is a national membership network of NGOs, CBOs, and FBOs, Private Sector actors, Research and Learning Institutions involved in or that have interest in HIV & AIDS , TB and other public health care concerns in Kenya such as Malaria, Nutrition, Community Harm Reduction(among injecting drug users) among others.

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Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO)
Regent Management Limited Court
Opposite Nairobi Womens Hospital
Argwings Kodhek Road/ Block C
P.O. Box 69866-00400, Nairobi - Kenya
Mobile:+254722203344
Landline: 020 2323533/020 2434615/020 20323506/020 2322657
Email: kanco@kanco.org

Our Vision

Healthy People, Empowered Communities

Our Mission

To improve Health and well- being among communities through capacity building and promotion of innovative leadership

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About KANCO

KANCO is a membership organization established in the early 1990s in Kenya with operations in the Eastern Africa region. Its membership comprises of Non- Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs), and Faith Based Organizations (FBOs), Network organizations and learning institutions that have a focus on health advocacy and or implementing health programs.

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Latest News

Inside this issue;

  • Sustained advocacy on GF implementation bears hope
  • Media sensitization on Covid-19 and Immunization
  • Counties Covid-19 Updates

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Inside this issue;

  • Covid-19 and the Right to Health; Strengthening Citizens Participation
  • World Health Assemble Calls for Concerted Effort to Fight Pandemic
  • Social Economic Survey on COVID-19 on Households, Reveals General Increase in Hardships

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Inside this issue;

  • Global Nutrition Report 2020 Highlights
  • Global Fund Additional Resources for COVID 19
  • Guidance for Community Health services in the Context of the Pandemic

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KANCO 2018 IN NUMBERS

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Children received basic ECD services

0

People reached with malaria interventions

0

Households reached through community outreaches

0

Community healthcare workers supported

0

People screened for TB and over 500 cases linked for treatment

0

Individuals reached with health messages

0

FSWs reached with comprehensive care package

0

PWIDs reached with targeted health interventions

0

MSMs Reached with Comprehensive Care Package

0

Community Grassroots Advocates engaged

0

CSOs received Capacity Building and Technical Support

0

Policy Makers Engaged

0

Organizations received grants to implement health programs across Eastern Africa region

KANCO Members

Map of Kanco Members

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 As we ease into the seemingly new normal in compliance with ‘Social and distancing’ and minimizing unnecessary movement, in response to the COVID-19-pandemic and as this new culture takes shape, it is not without culture shock. The stark glare of the pandemic, the fear, the uncertainty, the distantness and abrupt proximity of the danger, the confusion and the ostensibly unending days are unfolding all at once.   The pandemic which was first reported in China in December 2019, surpassed over 1 Million Infections   as of April 3, 2020 and 52,238 deaths recorded so far.

Ordinarily, work flexibility would be seen as a privilege only a few get to enjoy, but what about the circumstantially imposed remote working?  It is also worth noting that these are not necessarily “ordinary’ times, a global pandemic is unfolding as we watch! What’s worse is that there is no time to stand by and watch because life must go on and one important aspect of it is continuing to work albeit from home.

For the employer questions of productivity and value for money linger especially if and when flexi hours is on a first time basis yet a necessary evil. For the employee even more questions suffice; how to   set up the infrastructure to effectively bring the office into the house and deliver. For those with families, how to balance the work schedule and family while in the same space for extended hours becomes a daily affair. What about productivity both qualitatively and quantitatively? What next after the seemingly infinite lockdown will I still have a job?  Uncertainties loom as employers also have to deal with unchartered territory.

As a human being, and being used to routine, first you are also tasked to explain to your children (if you have them) why you have to work with the TV on even when you said TV should always be off when focusing on serious matters, but you need to stay on top of things as far as the pandemic goes, by hopefully catching real time updates.

For most of us, the adult life has meant an 8am-5pm job, and this has for the longest time helped define the line between our homes and the workplace, but overnight these walls have collapsed and no one knows when they will be rebuilt, although we are asked to keep the hope alive. The world has been ushered into the cruelty of a virus so lethal, which has not just put our humanity to test, but also gripped us with fear and lots of introspection. But we know that life must go on, bills must be paid and mostly importantly we must safeguard our health as we all have a lot of rebuilding to do after this turbulence is over. The transition has yet gain brought out the resilient nature of human beings, and working from home has been one of those novel experiences that is laden with lessons for many who haven’t done it before:

Drastic changes requires drastic adjustments.  For most of the people who have always separated the office and workplace function, the sudden move of the office to your home means re adjustment to bring the office amenities to the household. Beyond the need for infrastructure( computer, internet), is the need for a quiet working space, and for most people this has become either the dining table or the bedroom but  if you have the tiny  running, hyper active and over energized soldiers then  your best bet is the bedroom  working under lock and key.

Time management is an utmost discipline. Suddenly we all have a lot of time in our hands but confronted with very few options. An old adage goes, to whom much is given, much is expected, and this time we are almost all equally gifted with long extended hours at home. Managing this time becomes critical to achieve an effective work and life or is it home balance. Once we have attended to the work needs, we have been forced to become creative in spending time to make the stay at home interesting. 

Technological savviness is inevitable: With the transition almost all services have become virtual, with technology   being employed in sharing, meetings, group tasks and even conferences.  Suddenly distant IT terms like ‘Microsoft teams, drop box, we transfer, documents collaborations etc have become inevitable. Needless to say some people are more challenged than others, but one thing that is clear is that we cannot avoid technology.  Virtual IT support has become the norm but this means you have to work on the nuts and bolts of learning software yourself. But take it in stride, it’s all in the learning curve!

Work life balance taken literally– for the longest time we’ve been guilty of tossing the statement work life balance and especially in relation to the family. However the full experience had been limited to the weekends that are further disrupted by personal errands, limiting it to a few hours of interaction. However, the experience of being under the same floor with our families for extended houses 24/ 7 is almost surreal. Gone are the days families would exchange small talk and pleasantries between catching up on news, doing homework and having dinner together before catching sleep for a few hours before the routine replays.  With no school or much engagements outside, there is all the time and suddenly there is need to have longer and hopefully meaningful and impactful conversations as a unit. Consequently, many people are relearning their children, spouses, and partners and even rediscovering themselves and their hidden talents and gifts, given the time in our hands.

When to hold and when to let go: When initially catching up on the news every second was critically important for most people, as the pandemic evolves, some people have sometimes opted to have a media   block. This could be so as to avoid unnecessary panic but also to focus on works or maybe it’s the adjustment setting in, that actually working from home can happen. In the face of such a pandemic, psychologists have advised that keeping off the negative news is important, as it may have negative consequences on your health.

The true value of colleagueship- Once upon a time before COVID-19,   weekends and sometimes working away from the office was one of those welcome breaks from sometimes monotonous office spaces with the same people and same vibe. But  as the days go by, and with  every  consultation coming  at a cost, and brainstorming sessions having  to be preplanned unlike when you’d just walk up to a colleague to pick the brain on an issue, the invaluable importance of the these engagements is becoming avid. We are slowly learning that the 8 hours that sometimes came across as toilsome, offered a lot in terms of comradeship that we may have often downplayed.  Boundaries have not just been challenged but thoroughly redefined.

Health is the greatest wealth; with the globe grinding to a halt because of the virus, there has been great introspection of what ones health and the health of a nation means and the need to safeguard health as the greatest wealth.

As we continue to novel our experiences, we must remain positive and hopeful, because after this tide, we have an opportunity to not just rebuild but to better what we previously had.

By Wachira Charity- Communications Officer KANCO.

A trait common in both Tuberculosis (TB) and COVID-19 (Corona Virus) is the characteristic fast and easy spread in the absence of – or non-adherence to – strict prevention measures. Their highly communicable nature can easily overwhelm a health system with adverse fountain effects to normal life.

Over the last one month, most of the world’s crucial activities have wound down with some countries and cities completely ground to a halt following the exponential spread of COVID-19.

With the pandemic having grabbed total global attention, the World TB Day 2020 may pass unnoticed or receive very little attention if any.

The World TB Day is an important marker of the global TB response where countries take stock of their achievements, challenges, highlight plans and recommit, yet again, to ending TB.

If WTBD 2020 passes silently, as it may likely do with all the attention directed to COVID-19, we may miss a good chance to reflect on our proactiveness, and/or readiness to deal with such diseases.

Historically, most countries capitalize on March 24 (World TB Day) and the run up days to create awareness, galvanising political goodwill, setting targets and outlining goals in efforts to eliminating the menace.

Without overemphasizing on the attention given to COVID-19, it is almost unfair that the much older and more persistent TB has not drawn such immense response. 

As a matter of fact, mortality due to TB, largely compounded by poor housing and living conditions in low income communities, has not triggered as much enthusiasm in addressing the squalid living conditions or the weak health systems and extremely limited political will, supplies and human resources to catapult preparedness as its younger counterpart COVID-19 has done.

Whereas this comparison may be criticised, the uniqueness in the COVID-19 response lifts the lid on our shortcomings in salient responses towards strengthening the fight against communicable diseases like TB.

First, it has managed to garner global attention and concerted efforts not just by leveraging great political good will across global leaders, but also has revolutionised research efforts globally, with scientists working round the clock to find relief / cure for this virus.

Secondly, it has reinvigorated philanthropy towards combating it as well as great citizen support for the cause.

Thirdly, there has been a remarkable breakthrough in technology and health systems strengthening. China set the pace with the construction of a state of the art quarantine facility in a record 10 days. I use the word quarantine emphatically given that its one of the biggest challenges we have in African health systems in the TB response, despite being an important structure in the TB management and control we still are lagging behind being in setting out this isolation facilities.

Fourth, the information flow through concerted global media efforts has been commendable. Citizens have had real time updates both from global and national media on the disease evolution, with messages on prevention, spread and who is vulnerable circulating every second.  These efforts have gone a long way in spreading awareness and inspiring citizens to be cautions but also in underscoring the implications of their actions on the wellness of their communities. It is however worth mentioning that in this internet age, this period has also seen the fuelling of many untruths and stereotypes especially on social media, detrimental to the global efforts in the fight against the virus.

Fifth, there is a general increase in health seeking behaviour, citizen heath policing, an array of emergency health hotlines and greater communications on the preparedness of the health systems to offer services related to the COVID-19 response. In Kenya, there is an emergency 24 hour hotline for the COVID-19 response in all the 47 counties as well as a clear and continuous communication on the risk factors and what needs to be done. There are general community and health systems coordinated efforts in the response. Furthermore, government efforts on contact tracing have been commendable, a strategy that has been traditionally used in TB management albeit not with such   thoroughness. The briefing on the death toll and the full understanding of the implications of the epidemic and our individual actions may have been instrumental in promoting citizen vigilance on the pandemic.

Back to TB. Drawing comparison with the COVID-19 response, TB claimed 1.5 million people in 2019, and there is an estimated 10 Million cases of TB per year while COVID-19 had claimed nearly 10,000 deaths as at March 20, 2020 and over 250,000 infections since it broke out according to WHO.

Further, for TB, a huge number of the new cases go undetected.  This fuels fears that  the WHO’s end TB strategy   by 2020 may not be on track given that only a 6.3 percent drop compared to the 20 percent drop target in 2019 has been recorded. The death toll has fallen only by 11 percent compared to the 35 percent target.

WHO further points out that the fight against TB is chronically underfunded, hampering efforts to strengthen its combat.

Despite decades of ongoing advocacy for increased political good will to end TB, increased resources for TB, strengthening of the health systems to effectively address TB, and bold commitments such as those made at the + United Nation High Level Meeting, globally  we are  still far from ending TB.

Bearing in mind the devastating effects of TB and the catastrophic cost of addressing the disease, one wonders why  we  are yet to pronounce it as a global epidemic to garner  more political goodwill and resources that are needed to make eradicating TB a reality. Sadly, most countries are yet to allocate adequate resources to curb the disease despite being signatories of the global commitments to end TB.

In Kenya, up to 40 percent of all TB cases are still missing (and potentially spreading the disease).  TB literacy still remains very low with new or emerging guidelines in the TB management and control, rarely reaching the communities especially in comparison to the COVID – 19 information flow in the short time it has been here. 

As we mark this rather quiet World TB Day, it is imperative that we truly introspect on what is needed to realistically address TB and what role each person should play to end  it.

As economies take a beating with the World economic Forum, estimating COVID-19  to cost about $1 trillion and as nations  turn to research and faith in effort to defeat this virus, we must remember that TB remains one of the leading communicable diseases, compounded by the evolution of the bacteria to more  multi-drug resistant strains, and truly commit to ending TB for good, because every life matters.

By Wachira Charity-Communications Officer, KANCO

References

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tuberculosis9
https://www.rte.ie/news/newslens/2020/0320/1124414-coronavirus/

As we mark the World Food Day 2019, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2, that envisions zero hunger, under theme “Our actions are our future. Healthy diets for zero hunger’ we must remember that the future begins today, it is the little routine actions that amount to the great impact that we desire.

Globally the triple burden of malnutrition (undernutrition, micro-nutrient deficiency and Overweight/obesity) continues to bite, coupled with the rise of communicable diseases with nutritional implications that continue to be exacerbated by poor dietary habits.  Further global reports indicate that hunger is on the rise and the absolute number of undernourished people continues to increase.[1]

Failing food systems that speak to the structures and  mechanism of food  production and access continue  to suffice,  Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) 2019[2],  forwards  five related problems that continue to exert the failing systems including:  Insufficient supply of food from agricultural production to feed the growing world population; Inefficient delivery of foods from farmers to consumers due to market logistical challenges that often lead to  large losses and wastages during transport, handling and storage; Unequitable access to sufficiently healthy and diversified diets, due to highly segmented food markets: Unaffordable opportunities  especially for the poor and Unsustainable food supply due to negative environmental impacts.

As these overarching systematic and process failures continue to pose challenges, solutions need to be sought: for example Information must be unpacked, from this big, large and sometimes abstract idea of ‘ending hunger’, to actual, simple and doable actions from the household, national and global levels to realise zero hunger.  Hunger and nutrition related knowledge levels across the different stakeholders must be built to help wield a force toward the realization of this global vision.

 Going forward we must see the smaller and the global pictures and establish deliberate and concerted efforts to improve the health outcomes at each level: For example, well-nourished mothers have healthier babies with stronger immune systems, and thus at the household maternal child nutrition must be prioritised, exclusive breastfeeding and optimal complimentary feeding must be emphasised.  

The link between investment in nutrition and development need to be communicated clearly: Proper nutrition early in life could mean a 46% more in lifetime earnings, could save 3.1 million children per year, could increase a developing country’s GDP by 16.5 percent, ending nutrition related child mortality could increase a workforce by 9.4 percent and every dollar invested in hunger prevention has a return between USD15 and USD 139 in benefit[3]. In Kenya 53% of child deaths can be averted through investment in nutrition and 3.2 Trillion shillings saved in the next 20 years.[4] Specific actions at household level to global level to actualise this, must be relayed clearly.

Ending hunger must move from mere rhetoric to action, information must be broken down for every stakeholder to understand what they can do towards the cause. It must be owned from the household level, translate to policy and must wield political good will and resources to actualise it. Stakeholder’s coordination to end hunger must be strengthened, with the understanding that ending hunger is everybody’s responsibility.

By Wachira Charity

Communication Officer


[1] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2019: The State of Food Security and Nutrition

    in  the World 2019

[2] Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, 2019-https://a4nh.cgiar.org/2019/02/01/repairing-food-systems-failures-policies-innovations-and-partnerships/

[3] Food and Agricultural Association: https://www.greeningtheblue.org/event/world-food-day

[4] Nutrition Profiles 2010

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