Raising awareness of good hygiene practices in Madagascar. | © HI
Day after day, HI is adapting its work to help protect the most vulnerable from the rapid spread of the Covid-19 epidemic. Priority is being given to prevention messages and assisting the most fragile individuals, including the offer of psychosocial support.
HI’s teams in most of the 55 countries where the organisation works are helping reduce the spread of the epidemic. Their goal is to raise the hygiene awareness of people with disabilities and other vulnerable people and inform them of basic precautions. These actions take into account the limitations of each country and ensure information is accessible.
In Bangladesh, we have asked our teams to help make Covid-19 prevention messages accessible. HI has also made available two storage sites - Unchiprang and Dhumdumia - where national and international humanitarian organisations can store humanitarian equipment, and a fleet of lorries to transport this equipment (hygiene kits, mobility aids, and so on) and relief for other organisations to people living in hard-to-reach areas.
“Nearly one third of our teams are continuing our ‘essential’ work and providing response to the Covid-19 epidemic. Other staff members have adopted alternative working methods – working from home or not working – and are ready to help beef up our emergency response.”, explains Jean-Loup Gouot, director of HI in Bangladesh.
In Rwanda, tensions caused by the epidemic have been heightened by the upcoming commemorations – on Tuesday 7 April - of the 1994 genocide. HI has limited its work to refugee camps as a result of the epidemic and may provide response on inclusive education and psychosocial support. It also plans to implement remote awareness-raising actions.
In Somalia, which has a strong oral culture, HI is using its database of several thousand beneficiaries to get its prevention messages across and plans to provide psychosocial support.
In Togo, HI is producing soap and bleach to address hygiene issues.
In Nepal, currently in lockdown, HI will help make prevention messages accessible, and plans to distribute hygiene kits. The organisation will also work to address food shortages. Occasional breaks in the supply chain place the most vulnerable individuals at particular risk.
We will continue to implement and adjust our activities over the coming days and weeks to deal with this unsettled situation and provide support best adapted to people with disabilities.