All of the countries where we work are striving to slow the spread of the coronavirus through restrictions on public gatherings or quarantines. Below, you can find the most up-to-date reports from those countries, and how the new guidelines are affecting Compassion programming. Please continue to check back to this page for further updates.
A message from your Sponsored Child’s Country
Watch previous regional updates – view the archive.
Africa Region: Updates
[Update as of September 24, 2020 at 11:12 a.m. EST]
Burkina Faso is facing what relief organizations call a triple crisis – COVID-19, widespread flooding and armed violence. These have led to increased malnutrition, especially among children, millions being displaced from their homes, and limited health care and nutrition resources in a time when they are needed the most.
All Compassion partner churches still have child development centre group activities on hold, and they have readjusted their budgets to make sure children and families have food and hygiene items. The churches have distributed 436,926 food packs and 255,575 hygiene kits to families and continue to work to raise awareness of COVID-19 prevention. They also have helped 17,227 individuals access medical care. Some churches have helped families construct simple washing stations to use at their homes.
COVID-19 continues to spread in Ethiopia, with the number of confirmed cases nearing 65,000 and deaths reaching 1,022 as of Sept. 15. A government testing campaign is aimed at helping to identify hot spots and deal with the increasing cases. Schools and universities are closed, and large gatherings are banned. Weak health systems are already stretched to the breaking point, with many hospitals and clinics reporting with shortages of oxygen and beds for COVID-19 patients.
All Compassion child development centres have paused group activities, meetings and training. Partner church staff members in Ethiopia have distributed 431,964 food packs and 306,744 hygiene kits and have provided medical support to 18,857 individuals. Center workers are diligently checking on children and looking for signs of abuse. Additionally, staff has ensured that 526 centres across the nation have working hand-washing facilities for children, families and the community to access. Recently, flooding has affected parts of the country, and Compassion Ethiopia staff members are visiting affected church partners to offer assistance.
The number of active cases in Ghana continues to drop, and the latest numbers report that the number of active cases is below 650. The government reopened its main airport to international flight passengers on Sept. 1, with strict testing requirements for all travelers. International travel by land and sea is still prohibited. The government has lifted lockdowns in some larger cities, and some schools have reopened for final-year students to take exams. Church gatherings can take place for up to two hours at a time.
Most Compassion child development centres are not yet holding any onsite programs, although classrooms and common areas have been sanitized to prepare for the children’s return. Staff members are returning in shifts to prevent crowding, and several centres have invited children to come in small groups to write letters and do short lessons with tutors. Some centres have even been able to work with local television stations to air curriculum for students at home. Staff continues to handle health screenings, emergency medical care, child protection interventions and disaster response for beneficiaries as needed.
So far, they have been able to provide 66,037 food packs and 67,962 hygiene kits, as well as medical support to 18,155 individuals.
The spread of COVID-19 has slowed in Kenya, with most positive cases reported in Nairobi. The ministry of health has warned, however, that crowded markets and lack of social distancing and masks could result in a second spike in cases. Schools remain closed until January 2021, and places of worship began a phased reopening in July, allowing up to 100 people to attend in-person services. International flights have resumed.
Compassion centres in Kenya have not reopened, but staff are doing a blend of virtual, centre-based and home-based programming, depending on the region and the risk of local transmission of the virus. At the centres, small groups gather while obeying local guidelines. Church partners are working to provide psychological support to help the children and families who are experiencing anxiety caused by the pandemic.
We are grateful to report that staff members have distributed 84,156 food packs and 9,953 hygiene kits and have provided medical support to 10,310 individuals.
Rwanda has seen increasing recoveries from COVID-19 and decreasing numbers of new cases. The government is using widespread testing and contact tracers to identify people exposed to active cases. Most businesses, including restaurants, hotels, shops and tourism operations, have reopened. International air travel has resumed, but land borders remain closed. Schools remain closed until further notice. A curfew is in place from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., and large gatherings are banned.
Compassion centre workers are communicating with children and caregivers by phone where possible and conducting home visits where it is safe to do so. Small groups have been able to gather to tend to gardens and care for their livestock. Staff members are working within local guidelines to distribute supplies and have been able to deliver 74,964 food packs and 255,953 hygiene kits. Additionally, they have helped 12,547 individuals access medical support.
Sponsor gifts to children and families are being delivered as electronic cash transfers. The Compassion Rwanda office is working with local staff to offer counselling support during this difficult season.
The government of Tanzania is not reporting about cases of COVID-19. The U.S. Embassy in Tanzania warns that, given the presumed ongoing community transmission in Dar es Salaam and other locations, the risk of contracting the coronavirus remains high. However, tourists who test negative for COVID-19 are being welcomed into the country. Schools reopened after three months of closure, making Tanzania the first country in East Africa to allow students to return to school. Masks and social distancing are no longer required.
Compassion child development centres reopened for group activities on Sept. 5. Children come in shifts so they are able to maintain social distancing as much as possible. Hygiene kits and multiple hand-washing stations are available at every centre. Classrooms and playground equipment are regularly sanitized. Since the beginning of the pandemic, staff members have been able to distribute 54,744 food packs and 96,652 hygiene kits to families and provide medical support to 12,146 individuals.
In the first two weeks of September, Togo experienced a surge of COVID-19 cases in the regions of Kara and Savanes. The government has extended the state of emergency for up to six months (March 2021), depending on how the pandemic evolves. Borders are closed, public meetings of more than 15 people are banned, and schools are closed except for certain grades in which exams are mandatory. Masks are required in public. Churches are partially opened.
Compassion centers have suspended programming, but Compassion’s partner churches continue to make regular home visits to monitor the health of children and families and pray with them. Staff members have been able to safely deliver 254,332 food packs and 217,432 hygiene kits to families, in addition to providing medical support to 27,934 individuals. Centres are evaluating education needs for the students who have been unable to attend school to best know how to support them. They are offering refresher courses for students who will be taking national exams and following up with youths who are in apprenticeships or vocational training. In some centres, mothers are learning how to make masks, both for their families and to sell for income.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Uganda is increasing, and Kampala is becoming the epicentre of the virus. In response, the ministry of health converted parts of Namboole National Stadium into an auxiliary hospital. A large refugee camp in the southern part of the country was recently locked down after 40 cases were reported there. Schools, bars, gyms and places of worship remain closed, and a national curfew remains in place.
Compassion child development centres are still closed to group activities. Partner church staff members continue assessing the needs of children and their households and meeting those needs using child support and other local resources. Gifts from sponsors are being distributed. Additionally, they have been able to distribute 67,704 food packs and 102,201 hygiene kits to Compassion-assisted families, and they have provided medical support to 19,201 individuals.