More than 50 widows living at the poverty ravaged slum of Katorongot in the outskirts of Mogotio town, Baringo County, on Thursday observed that treatment of other serious diseases had been put on backseat with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The widows led by Esther Chesang noted that they have not received proper attention and assistance from the government through the ministry of health since the Covid-19 disease struck in March, this year, resulting in deterioration of their health conditions.
The women said this during a training conducted by Baringo Women Small Scale Farmers and sponsored by Actionaid Kenya on the existence of Covid-19, how it spreads and how they can protect themselves from contracting the virus.
“Since the advent of the coronavirus, other terminal diseases have been neglected by the government. Some of us have been sick even before the Covid-19 and we have really suffered. We appeal to the government to assist us lest we die,” Ms Chesang pleaded.
Sub county public health officer John Kitony who facilitated at the training urged the widows to strictly observe ministry of health guidelines and protocols of hand washing, social distancing and wearing of face masks at all times in order to avoid contracting and transmitting the disease.
The public health officer advised the poverty stricken women to avoid lifestyles that exacerbate the spread and transmission of the dreaded pandemic like indulging in drinking of illicit brews and mingling freely with people without face masks.
During the training, the women were each issued with sanitizers, face masks and three pieces of bar soaps to help them maintain high standards of cleanliness in their houses.
The organization which gave every family a hand washing jerrycan also helped to install hand washing jerrycans with soap at designated points within the slum.
Susan Apuwale, a widow who migrated from Kapedo some years back could not hide her happiness after receiving the Covid-19 essentials.
“Today I am very happy indeed after being given soaps, sanitizers and face masks. From here I will go straight to the river to take a bath and wash my clothes. Imagine I have not taken bath or washed my clothes for days because I didn’t have a soap,” said Apuwale.
Ms Apuwale claims to have no husband or children say she moved from Kapedo area in Turkana County to Mogotio because of hardships.
“I loiter in town every day to see if I can get food to eat. I beg for food on daily basis from good Samaritans. Some sympathise and give me some unga to go and cook for myself. Life is real bad for some of us who do not have husbands and children,” she laments.
Stella Ruto, the chairlady of the group also asked the widows to ensure every meal they prepare in their families is well balanced to boost their immunity.
Ms Ruto also called on the national government to supply the Katorongot widows with relief food and other non-food items especially during this period of Covid-19 pandemic when their movement is curtailed.
By Joshua Kibet