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Mask Up!

Mask Up!

In Mathare, one of Africa's most populous areas, masking up and hand sanitising remains a priority.

Chidi Afulezi
Chidi Afulezi

As COVID-19 cases are still on the rise with newer strains emerging 18 months later, public health initiatives and prevention measures in Kenya  remain at the centre of the response.

In the slum areas such as Mathare, there are lots of weak links in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. People dwelling in this area are living in devastating conditions. Large families must put up in small houses with poor ventilation and no way to maintain physical distance recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Every day, over 400 public services buses from nine different operators organised in SACCOs move the residents in and out of Mathare Area to Nairobi’s CBD and other surrounding destinations.

For most of Mathare’s inhabitants, buses —known locally as matatus—are the primary means of transport, offering the cheapest and most efficient way to commute.

The Billian Music Family team distributed over 500 masks to the passengers, drivers, and their conductors, in an exercise that targeted at least 15 buses each day.

Francis Odhiambo remains dedicated to the well-being of his passengers. Having learnt about the spread of COVID-19 and preventive measures such as correct mask-wearing and good hand hygiene, he is determined to protect himself and his passengers.

The Billian Music family continue to emphasise the need for bus drivers, conductors, and stage managers to adhere to set guidelines of ensuring they wash their hands, always wear their masks properly and have their temperatures taken often.

The Matatu Raid project is an ongoing partnership between The Billian Music Family and Mastercard Foundation.