Poorly paid or not at all, these unsung armies of mostly female community health workers have for years doled out advice and health services to families living in remote villages and urban slums who lack formal support.
Charities such as Catholic Relief Services, which is supporting coronavirus training for about 5,000 community health volunteers in Kenya, say this workforce is key.
More than half of African countries have witnessed community transmission—cases where patients have no travel history or known contact with infected people—suggesting the virus is moving undetected in the population, says WHO.
Raj Panjabi, of Harvard Medical School and CEO of Last Mile Health, said community health workers showed their value when another deadly virus hit in Liberia.
Omondi, who has been working as a community health volunteer for 10 years without pay and is responsible for 100 households in her neighbourhood, would welcome some recognition.