Boda-Boda operators have been identified as a key cog in the fight against COVID-19.
Speaking at the Kisii Agriculture Training Center (KATC) when he issued a total of 54,000 reusable masks to sub county boda-boda chairmen for distribution to riders across all the 45 wards, Kisii County Governor James Ongwae noted that the operators are in direct contact with members of the public across the spectrum hence the need to involve them in the war against COVID-19.
The 54,000 masks are part of 145,000 masks donated by the World Bank through the Kenya Devolution Support Programme(KDSP) and the Governor gave 1,000 masks for riders in every ward while the nine sub county officials also received 1,000 masks each for distribution to the public.
Ongwae noted that the boda boda riders were in close contact with the population and given their constant mobility, the county government was involving them to boost public awareness initiatives in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 through the distribution of preventive items and broadcasting of informational prototype materials like fliers and posters.
“With the lifting of the cessation of movement, our friends and relatives have been streaming from Nairobi and other towns. Soon, we are going to see an influx of visitors from abroad too.
Notably, boda boda being the most reliable and available means of transport to the sub-counties and grass root locations, the visiting travelers, some from hot spot areas will be using the motorbikes to reach their homes, this calls for prevention measures among the riders” the Governor noted.
Ongwae said there was need to involve all county stakeholders in engaging with the public in creating awareness geared towards prevention of the novel Corona Virus.
Already, all the elected MCAs from the 45 wards and 24 nominated MCAs are on the ground distributing the face masks to the public, besides sensitizing members of the public on the measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The county has already distributed the free masks to other stake holders including the Faith based organizations, Kisii Municipality Boda Boda leadership, Mama mbogas, Juakali groups, shoe shiners, hawkers, mitumba sellers, water vendors, taxi operators, kioski operators and fruit sellers.
He urged members of the public to treat COVID-19 like any other ailments and avoid stigmatizing persons who have recovered from Corona Virus saying their was need to safely embrace them back in society.
“The proposal to having mild cases of COVID-19 managed through home-based care and non-discrimination of corona virus patients will have to be our ‘new normal’, in case of an upsurge of cases,” he said.