Somalia. Strengthening the response to COVID-19 in the most at-risk communities
16-11-2020 | di COOPI

Somalia. Strengthening the response to COVID-19 in the most at-risk communities

In response to the fast spread of the pandemic, COOPI - Cooperazione Internazionale, in September 2020, intervened in Somalia through the project "Saving the lives of the most vulnerable people at risk Covid-19 in five regions of Somalia through awareness-raising campaigns and prevention measures" funded by the Canadian Fund and implemented in conjunction with the Somali National Women Organization, the National Commission for Mobilization and Sensitization and the Social Affairs Office of the Presidency.

The project, currently being implemented in Mogadishu, Baidoa, Garbaharey, Cadaado & Garowe, aims to increase IDPs' awareness of the possible consequences of COVID-19 and to tackle misinformation and misconception among the local population. To do so, COOPI and its partners have organized awareness campaigns within the IDP camps in the 5 Somali cities, where several local leaders have been the spokespersons of the awareness messages.

In an effort to strengthen the capacity of these community focal points in awareness and disease control, trainings on COVID-19 prevention measures were conducted to 5 leaders from each of the 5 districts (a total of 25) so that they could take up the mantle in spearheading the awareness program. This was followed by distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) to at least 2,000 IDPs in each of the districts. 

So far, around 10,000 beneficiaries – mostly women – have received face masks, hand sanitizer, gloves and hand washing soap. Furthermore, awareness programs and messages through TV, Radio and newspaper are currently ongoing. All these actions have been focused on slowing transmission of the virus and reinforcing national coordination and leadership on the COVID-19 response.

According to Rahma Abdullahi Sheikh, one of the community leaders in Baidoa, the initiative has given her community the knowledge and the tools to enhance their resilience to future crisis. 

Recovering from a long period of instability and civil-war, the Somali health system has been very extremely ill-equipped to respond to Covid-19. Therefore, prevention through a robust public awareness is the only practical choice.