The Big Four Agenda an accelerated development plan initiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta. It covers four agenda items: food security, manufacturing, universal healthcare and affordable housing. Food security and nutrition refers to the policy that ensures accessibility of affordable, safe and highly nutritious food, to be consumed by Kenyans, without fear of poisoning and diseases. The manufacturing policy is concerned with development of industries in Kenya and production of high quality products used within the country and also deals with imports and exports in the country. The Universal Health Coverage policy allows the citizens to access quality and affordable healthcare.
Effects of COVID-19
Among the effects of Covid-19 pandemic in the realization of the Big Four Agenda include the following; Food security and nutrition was affected by the pandemic, as a result the citizens were given food accessible on door to door basis, as a result of lockdowns at various places in the country, this was to curb hunger issues among the Kenyans and to ensure health was at a top notch. Manufacturing also had the opportunity for creativity and innovation of Covid-19 products, which include face masks, protective clothing and equipment, Plexiglass shields and pain relievers to be used respectively to curb the spread of Covid-19. Affordable Housing was affected, due to introduction of quarantine centers for isolation of people in order to determine whether they’ve been infected by Covid-19. Thus accommodation of those people was a challenge, causing the rate of housing to rise at affordable prices. Also crowded places were banned thus giving opportunity to secure rooms to accommodate the crowds at an affordable price and availing of lands for housing and settlement was at a high rate. Universal Health Coverage was affected, thus due to Covid-19 people were exposed to the spread of the contagious disease at a very high rate, as a result people had the opportunity to secure their Universal Health Coverage to enable easier medical attention in case of exposure to any disease including Covid-19.
Potentials to Build Back
Kenya has the potential to recover from the socio-economic shock of Covid-19 since there is a high chance of Kenyans exploiting various economic activities in the country to secure payable jobs and income at various levels to ensure they earn a living and stabilize themselves economically. Thus, this prompts the curve to rise gradually on the economic sector since the citizens strive for acquisition of basic needs including shelter and housing, food to consume rendering them to look for a living economically. As a result Kenyans have embarked on social affairs affecting the societies and the need to keep societies free from corruption and emblezzment of Covid-19 funds, building of hospitals to secure health care of the society members and provision of affordable medicines and vaccines in case of outbreak of diseases. Thus there is a high potential of recovery, both socially and economically as a result of Covid-19 effects on them.
Therefore, in order to exploit the potentials, as a result of promoting the realization of the Big Four agenda amid Covid-19, the government has come up with the following policies interventions. Giving out job opportunities to the youths in the field of manufacturing thus promoting the production of protective kits and face masks as required to curb the spread of Covid-19 and thus enabling them to earn a living economically. The government policy in enabling the people to learn about Covid-19 through posters posted at various stations respectively and mass media technology involvement has given the citizens opportunity to become aware of the contagious disease, Covid-9 and also exposed to the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) services and how it operates on the basis that it is a free health care, paid for with revenue from the income taxes in the country. The Government involvement in giving out support to the food relief societies and funding groups and clubs, to conduct visits to the affected areas by the pandemic, ensuring that the people there are given sustainable, safe and high quality food and a well-guided diet on nutrition to ensure stable health conditions and minimize exposure to diseases, among the affected people by Covid-19. Also the Government has enacted measures on housing and settlement as per the rights of the Kenyan citizens. As a result, it ensures development of adequate standardized and well-spaced, conducive houses with adequate supply of water for proper cleansing and electricity at affordable prices specifically for citizens of different social classes; the upper class, the middle class and the lower class respectively. This curbs overcrowding and ensures provision of water for cleansing and washing of hands as a protective measure against Covid-19.
In conclusion, Kenya has a chance to build back better in the post Covid-19 era to accelerate achievement of the Big Four Agenda which include Food security and nutrition, Manufacturing, Universal Health Coverage and Affordable Housing.
By Faith Jepchumba Kipng’etich, a student at Kabarak University