When the crisis hit in March, Concern’s teams were prepared for action.
Raising awareness of COVID-19 and the simple steps that should be followed to prevent the spread of the virus is key in a country like CAR. Since the beginning of the outbreak, Concern has reached around 30,000 people in CAR with its COVID-19 messaging, both directly and indirectly. This is done in two ways.
In more isolated villages, Concern is identifying and training influential community members on best practice to prevent COVID-19. Once these people are trained, they spread the word to their friends, family and neighbours.
“One person should be able to reach an entire village,” said Gloria.
“By the time this programme is complete, we should have reached around 40 to 50 thousand people with messaging.”
A number of health centres have also been strategically targeted in selected areas. Concern teams train the medical and general support staff on what COVID-19 is and the best ways to prevent it. There is also specific training on cleaning and disinfecting and how to protect people that present with COVID-19 symptoms.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and disinfectant is also provided to each health centre. This programme is possible thanks to support from Irish Aid, the Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID BHA) and UNICEF. The BHA-funded project is being implemented as a consortium alongside the NGOs International Medical Corps (IMC), Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and Oxfam, which are coordinating their efforts to fight the spread of the pandemic, in support of the Ministry of Health and Population.
While news of lifesaving vaccines emerged in November, it is likely that these will take some time to reach countries such as CAR. Gloria says she hopes poorer countries have fair access.
“Our staff members are extremely relieved to know that things are moving in Europe and that a solution may be found soon”.
“Africa is always last in line for these things, but I hope that a fair distribution of the vaccine will take place around the world.”
Although COVID-19 has affected all countries around the world, Gloria asked the Irish public to remember those in the world’s poorest places.
“I would like to highlight the need to keep helping people here, especially when it comes to the health needs. I know the situation in Ireland is hard, the health system and the economy have been severely hit by the pandemic, but imagine what the situation is like here. Please keep helping.”