Kenya + 5 more

MMC 4Mi snapshot: Awareness of COVID-19 and access to services among refugees and migrants in Kenya and Somaliland


In East Africa, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on migration dynamics in the region. In March 2020, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia and other East African countries reported their first cases of the COVID-19 virus. As a response to the growing threat, governments across the region implemented strict travel restrictions and widespread border closures. Kenya reported its first COVID-19 case on March 12 and announced its borders would close on March 15.

Somaliland reported its first case on March 16 and closed its borders on March 26. This snapshot aims to contribute towards building a solid evidence base to inform targeted responses on the ground, as well as advocacy efforts related to the situation of refugees and migrants during the coronavirus pandemic.

Key recommendations

• Disseminate information to migrants and refugees on where to access free or subsidised healthcare, and information on what documentation would be needed to access these services.

• Increase cash assistance to vulnerable refugees and migrants to cover basic needs (food, water, shelter).

• In line with international human rights law and in the interests of public health, governments should ensure that all refugees and migrants, regardless of migratory status, have access to healthcare services.