Monday, 01 June 2020 06:36


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Since the onset of COVID- 19, many countries globally have been adversely affected. As this pandemic continues to manifest and encroach further into various Countries, many sectors of the economy are consequently being shaken. The Natural resource and distinctly the water sector is one such sector feeling the strain and can’t be downplayed in this fight against the pandemic.
Kenya for instance has had challenges in the water sector even before this pandemic transpired. The need to strengthen the Water, sanitization and hygiene (WASH) systems has been made even more apparent in the wake of the Coronavirus. It is against this background that an emergency response virtual meeting was held on 19th of May 2020 between the County Governors and Water and Sanitation (WATSAN) Development Partners to canvass the WASH challenges being experienced during this pandemic.
H.E Tunai, Chairman of the Natural resource committee at the Council of Governors thanked the partners for their support in this way while stating the significance of strengthened WASH systems in this fight. “I want to thank you all for turning up for this meeting and above all for your inclination towards walking with the counties in this fight. As we are all aware, simple hygiene is one of the most powerful weapons in the fight against this pandemic and therefore strengthening the WASH systems is a sure way of flattening the curve”.
Excellency Governors expressed concerns over challenges that water utilities have faced in coping with protocols and guidelines issued to water companies. It was noted that the electricity bills are accumulating, chemicals for water treatment still remain a challenge to counties, the flooding situation which has adversely disrupted supply in Counties around the lake region and also diminished livelihoods in areas like Tana River County and the other areas.
The development partners were in total agreement with the fact that the WASH sector might be the one sector that will help reduce the Corona Virus cases significantly since most of this fight is about proper hygiene management( regular hand washing, drinking clean water and cleaning of surfaces etc.) The partners among them USAID, UNICEF, African Development Bank, World Bank, Netherlands Embassy, KFW reiterated that whilst this sector is the one critical sectors in this time, it was not very well established in the counties.
In view of the challenges, partners present during the meeting underscored their various courses of action in response to WASH COVID-19 crisis. Reviewing budgets for ongoing projects to support the WASH COVID -19 responses is one such way.UNICEF noted that they have procured water treatment chemicals that Counties can have access to through the Council of Governors.
As a way forward from the meeting therefore, the Council of Governors secretariat was directed to make a request to UNICEF for water treatment chemicals, the subgroup of development partners will meet weekly and this will enable them to consolidate support to Counties which will be presented to the larger group which is the Governors and the WATSAN development partners and that the council will appeal for review of electricity tariffs.

Wash hands. Stay home. Keep social distance. We shall overcome.

Read 1226 times Last modified on Monday, 01 June 2020 07:03