Awareness flash mob in a market place. | © HI
Around 15,000 people are sleeping rough on the streets of Togo’s capital, Lomé. HI has been running a project to help them cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
The Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated the plight of vulnerable people, especially those living on the streets. Lockdowns and social distancing measures have deprived them of the support of the rest of the population; they are now more isolated, insecure and malnourished than ever.
HI teams have been conducting outreach work to limit the spread of the virus in Lomé and the city of Sanvee Condji. Between April 2021 and February 2022, the following actions were implemented:
Two health surveillance teams, each with a nurse, a psychologist and a midwife, conducted night rounds in Lomé. They provided medical and psychosocial care to over 15,000 people. Whenever possible, medical conditions, such as headaches, sores, rashes, malaria and sexually transmitted diseases, were treated directly on site. Thanks to these activities, more than 8,500 people accessed health care between April 2021 and February 2022.
As part of the outreach work organised by HI, more than 4,500 people were given psychosocial support, as there is a real need among people sleeping rough to talk about their past bad experiences and their day-to-day life on the street.
"We provide rough sleepers with psychological support because they are a sector of the population that feels vulnerable and neglected. When we offer them specialised services that are otherwise inaccessible to them, they feel seen. It is part of HI's mission to give hope to people who feel forgotten", explains Issa Afo, HI psychologist.