According to the WHO, there were 15,471 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa by 14th April. 835 people have died. Kenya has had 208 cases and Uganda 53. Both countries have been quick to respond, enforcing lockdowns at a much earlier stage than most European countries. The Ugandan authorities closed Entebbe Airport and all land borders on 22nd March, while the Kenyan Government suspended all international passenger flights on 25th March.

As the governments strive to limit infections, our local partners in rural areas, where government health services are weak or unavailable, have found themselves on the front line. They are working in partnership with the Ministries of Health to provide information and practical support, helping to fight the spread of the virus. They can, in some case cases, continue with their core projects, providing essential health services and family planning support.

Since the beginning of March, we’ve been bringing you snapshots via Twitter and Facebook of what our partners have been doing to prepare their communities for the inevitable. What became clear very quickly was the lack of basic protective equipment to keep health workers safe. So we launched a campaign to raise funds for the purchase of personal protective equipment.

We are delighted to say that we have raised almost £3,000 so far. The money has already been dispatched and people are seeing the benefits. In Uganda, the Rwenzori Centre for Research and Advocacy has bought hand sanitizers, boxes of gloves, liquid soap, aprons and facemasks for their Village Health Teams. In Kenya, the Big Life Foundation and the Mount Kenya Trust have procured similar items for their Community Health Volunteers. “To help curb the spread in our community, our CHVs are educating people on how the virus spreads, how to prevent it, and why staying home is so essential’, says Big Life Foundation.

Despite the temptation to hunker down and isolate, we urge you to remain open and willing to help those far away in developing countries, who do not have the good fortune to have access to a free and well-equipped national health service when they need it. Please continue to act locally, but also keep thinking globally.

Please support our appeal to provide vital protective equipment and lifesaving information today: COVID-19 Response Appeal.