Some of the members of the COVID-19 response team in Kenya during the project flag off event in July 2020.

Stories from COVID-19 rapid responders in Kenya

A total of 50 health personnel have been deployed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to 14 counties across Kenya to bolster county-level healthcare systems, an intervention which is part of the UNDP-led Joint UN COVID-19 Response Programme. Recruited in conjunction with UN Volunteers and County Public Service Boards, these professionals will serve as Clinical Officers, Nursing Officers, Public Health Officers, and Laboratory Technicians for an initial period of 6 months.

During each month of their service with UNDP, we are reaching out to these 'rapid responders' to collect their perspectives, experiences and stories of life on the frontlines of Kenya's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and will share these insights here.

The COVID-19 Response Programme was developed by the UN Joint Devolution Programme after development partners Finland, Italy and Sweden consented to remobilizing USD 3.1 million to respond to the pandemic in Kenya. The COVID-19 Response is being implemented by UNDP, UNICEF and UN Women, with UNDP playing the coordination role: interventions enacted through the programme will mitigate both the spread and impact of COVID-19 by increasing capacity of the healthcare system, building the resilience of vulnerable populations, bolstering social protections and advocating for the rights of women.

Tabitha Shali Mbogho - Nursing Officer

July 2020: My name is Tabitha Shali Mbogho. I am a Nursing Officer and a UN health volunteer currently stationed at Moi Referral Hospital in Voi town, Taita Taveta County.

It has been an exciting experience serving the community…sensitizing and raising their awareness on COVID-19 pandemic on how to keep themselves safe; conducting both targeted and mass testing in the community. One of the challenges I have noted, the community has not yet fully embraced the reality of (the health dangers posed by) COVID-19. Through our regular health talks, I have had an opportunity to educate and help my community better understand what COVID-19 is, how it can affect their health and how to prevent it from spreading in the community.

Being a UN Volunteer has presented me a unique and an eye-opening opportunity and a great learning experience. Besides working as a COVID-19 frontline health specialist, I also have access to a wide range of online courses and trainings to better my knowledge and skills through the continuous learning programme. And the constant communication with UNDP through the UNDP/UNV coordinator checking on my wellbeing and providing me with constant updates. I have also attended several virtual meetings with UNDP including with Management and Devolution programme staff.

UNV and UNDP have afforded me a platform to work directly with the community as well as in the hospital in response to COVID-19. The community has been receptive and welcoming, which has led to more open and meaningful conversations on how they can stay safe from COVID-19 and continue with their daily lives uninterrupted.