COMBATING CORONAVIRUS

NGO launches Covid-19 prevention hygiene project for Africa

Byatta said with support from county and district health officers, Evidence Action is distributing soap for handwashing to each household in its catchment areas, reaching 2.1 million Kenyans, 1.3 million Ugandans, and 600,000 Malawians.

In Summary

•Regional Director Paul Byatta said the project targets people who often do not have access to formal public infrastructure or adequate healthcare that are critical for mitigating the disease’s impact.

•Evidence Action will support communities across rural Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi- where 42 percent, 44 percent, and 57 percent, respectively, of the population, live below the poverty line—face this unprecedented crisis by mobilising the supply chain and networks underpinning its Dispensers for Safe Water program.

A medical worker wearing a protective mask and suit speaks with a patient suffering from coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in an intensive care unit at the Oglio Po hospital in Cremona, Italy, on March 19, 2020.
A medical worker wearing a protective mask and suit speaks with a patient suffering from coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in an intensive care unit at the Oglio Po hospital in Cremona, Italy, on March 19, 2020.
Image: REUTERS

The Covid-19 Prevention Hygiene Project to support rural communities in Africa to slow down the spread of the virus has been launched by an international NGO-Evidence Action.

Regional Director Paul Byatta said the project targets people who often do not have access to formal public infrastructure or adequate healthcare that are critical for mitigating the disease’s impact.

He noted that the rapid spread of COVID-19 has quickly overwhelmed advanced health systems in Europe, the UK, and the US. Evidence Action with its Africa regional headquarters in Nairobi.

"Though African countries have reported fewer cases to date, time is of the essence to mitigate the devastating effect the virus could have on those in low- and middle-income communities," Byatta said in a press statement.

Evidence Action, he said, will support communities across rural Kenya, Uganda, and Malawi- where 42 percent, 44 percent, and 57 percent, respectively, of the population, live below the poverty line—face this unprecedented crisis by mobilising the supply chain and networks underpinning its Dispensers for Safe Water programme.

"This powerful and efficient platform - reaching 4 million people across 16,500 villages - has been activated to ensure access to safe water and deliver soap and disinfectant to poor households thus helping to flatten the curve," Byatta said.

Through the project, Evidence Action will provide for continued access to safe water, re-stocking of chlorine to water points and conducting combined promoter and community education at all water points.

 

This, the regional director said, will address safe water behavioral habits and addressing any misinformation arising from Covid-19, as well as the impact of both of these on the continued use of chlorine.

In promoting hand washing, Byatta said with support from county and district health officers, Evidence Action is distributing soap for handwashing to each household in its catchment areas, reaching 2.1 million Kenyans, 1.3 million Ugandans, and 600,000 Malawians.

In total, Evidence Action aims to distribute about 2,500 tons of handwashing soap and support the training of communities on effective handwashing techniques and other COVID-19 messaging, including social distancing.

For disinfection of frequently touched communal places, the programme’s community promoters will be mobilised to disinfect all frequently touched places such as dispenser valves, water pumps, communal taps, and posho mills, in their area 3–4 times per day, Byatta added.

When delivering supplies, Evidence Action field staff will conduct a brief hygiene training session, during which they will also work with promoters to identify the frequently touched places within their area.