COVID 19: Breaking Barriers to Behavior Change among IDPs

House to house hygeine promotion

Somalia is grappling with the implications of 2.6 million persons being internally displaced, and a huge percentage are located in Mogadishu and its environs. The outbreak of COVID-19 compounds the already fragile situation characterized by overpopulated IDP camps and little access to adequate water for good hygiene practices leaving the population highly vulnerable to disease outbreaks. Limited access to basic services such as water, sanitation, and health education challenges the adherence to COVID-19 prevention measures such as frequent handwashing.

NAPAD in partnership with Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe Somalia is supporting the internally displaced households within the IDP camps of Kaxda and Grasbaley IDPs in Mogadishu, who are at heightened risk of coronavirus transmission to improve their hygiene practices through improved access to water and aggressive hygiene promotion outreaches

NAPAD has installed handwashing stations in various health centers, such as the   Bulsha Bilan health center, in Kaxda IDP Camp, and at the Community Centre in Garasbaley IDPs center.  NAPAD has also ensured that there is regular water and soap supply at the handwashing stations.  

Handwashing facilities established at  Bulsha Bilan health center

This handwashing facility is extremely useful to us. Everyone coming into the health facility washes their hands using this machine with ease unlike before when we were using a 3-liter water container for handwashing…. this center receives more than 25 patients each day. The handwashing installation has helped raise hygiene standards in the health facility”.  Reports Hamdi Ali, a community health worker in charge of the Bulsha Bilan health center facility.

COVID 19 Hygiene promotion in a Health Center

Appropriate COVID 19 IPC and hygiene information promotion is another approach by NAPAD through intensified household and community risk communication and social mobilization activities in the camps. Ten hygiene educators drawn from Kaxda and Grasbaley were trained and facilitated by NAPAD to engage households on Covid-19 infection prevention and control (IPC) measures in the local language. The team, equipped with local language Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials has reached 2032 households in 18 IDP cluster segments with appropriate Covid-19 IPC mitigation measures messages

Hygiene promotion in camps

The hygiene promoters also curbed local myths and misconceptions that promoted misinformation of the infectious COVID 19 among the camp populations by providing relevant information approved by WHO and Ministry of Health Covid-19 prevention guidelines.

Hygiene promoters during camp outreaches

GLOBAL HANDWASHING DAY 2020: HAND HYGIENE FOR ALL

NAPAD commemorates #GlobalHandwashingday2020.

If there was ever a time when people accepted the importance of handwashing using soap, it has to be 2020. Most especially in Somalia, apart from the COVID-19 pandemic, the region has also grappled with flooding.  According to UNOCHA the floods forced at least 167,000 people into displacement camps with little to no clean water, increasing the risk of AWD/Cholera outbreaks. Since the beginning of this year, the cumulative total number of suspected cholera cases in Somalia has been 5925, including 31 associated deaths, according to the Ministry of Health Somalia. At the same time, COVID-19 infections have been 3,941, with 104 related deaths.

Handwashing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent these diseases. The world commemorated the Global Handwashing Day on 15 October 2020, with this year’s theme being Hand hygiene for all, calling for all of society to achieve universal hand hygiene and focusing on the importance of handwashing equity.

As part of the Global Hand Washing Day campaign, NAPAD, NORWEGIAN CHURCH AID, GERMAN FEDERAL FOREIGN OFFICE AND MEDICO INTERNATIONAL focused on increasing community awareness on the importance of handwashing with soap to improve hygiene practices, especially among young children. With support from these partners, NAPAD conducted two handwashing campaigns simultaneously in Abudwak and Dollow Somalia.

Residents of Dayah Village with local language pamphlets on proper hand hygiene
Residents of Dayah Village Dollow Somalia practicing #HforHandwashing commemorating #GlobalHandwashingDay .

In Dollow Somalia, our team conducted hygiene awareness campaigns in Dayah village. The activities facilitated by NAPAD and NORWEGIAN CHURCH AID saw 80 community elders, women groups, religious leaders, and students discuss the importance of hygiene, which all starts by cleaning one’s hands properly to stop the spread of germs and illness and particularly in this COVID-19 pandemic period. Activities included training through modules and demonstrations focused on washing hands, washing them effectively, and the prevention methods of COVID-19. All 80 participants pledged to maintain hygiene practices through handwashing with soap and water. Each participant received a t-shirt, pamphlets on proper hand hygiene, and soap bars, supporting their continued practices on effective handwashing.

Children in Ayatin Primary Abudwak Somalia practicing proper hand washing techniques.

In Abudwak, thanks to GERMAN FEDERAL FOREIGN OFFICE AND MEDICO INTERNATIONAL, the event held at Ayatin Primary attracted approximately 160 attendees—including students, parents, and teachers. The celebration emphasized the importance of handwashing to prevent diseases, the necessity of using soap instead of only water, how everyone’s health can benefit from washing their hands, and the critical times for hand washing, including before and after eating and after visiting the toilet. Additionally, handwashing soap and handwashing facilities were given to the school. The intention was to stretch past raising awareness and promote behavior change—making handwashing less of an unfamiliar, daunting task and more of an essential behavior at critical points of the day, particularly among children. They are the most significant change agents in society.