Youth Truck Supports Corona Virus (COVID-19) Task Force on Prevention and Risk Communication
On 30 January, the World Health Organization declared the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). As of 4 March 2020, 77 countries have reported cases of COVID-19. This virus has signs and symptoms similar to the common cold but is more dangerous and if not reported early and managed by health workers it can cause severe illnesses and can lead to death. Uganda currently has 52 confirmed cases with no deaths yet. In light of the increase in infections, Government has imposed increasingly restrictive measures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus. Uganda has demonstrated the ability to reduce or stop transmission of the COVID-19 virus but it’s important that the people in Uganda remain on high alert and diligently exercise preventive measures to avoid contracting Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Innovative approaches in health services communication and engagements of the communities is the only solution to creating awareness on the current pandemic COVID -19. In partnership with the Ministry of Health Uganda, the Youth Truck has put collaborative efforts in community awareness on the pandemic through road shows, mobilisation and sensitisation on the health guidelines and procedures people should follow in order to stay safe and stop the spread. It was noted that given the disease dynamics due to physical contact and improper hands hygiene being the key transmission modes. Ministry of Health has ensured some preventive measures in place to ensure no further spread of the virus, these include;
- Washing hands as often as possible with water and soap for at least 20 seconds
- Physical distancing of people in a radius of 2 - 4 metres from each other
- Avoiding toughing of the eyes, nose and mouth
- Avoiding hand-shakes.
- And report any suspected cases through the Ministry hotlines including signs like sneezing, high temperatures, difficulty in breathing, cough and chest pain.
It’s upon this background that the Youth Tuck was identified as key partner in community awareness and engagement to support and strengthen as well as bridge the communication gap through reaching out to people in the suburbs of Kampala as highlighted below:
WHAT YOU MAY NEED TO KNOW
- The community still holds a lot of misconceptions in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of them strongly believe that this virus is not meant for African blood and therefore think them are resistant.
- There is a lot of social discrimination to people with cough and flu in this period
- As a result of the Lockdown there are quite a number of domestic violence cases in homes
- Anxiety is high among community members, this is in regards to the uncertainty of how they will survive through this period given the fact that their businesses are down.
- The community had high expectations of whether the Youth Truck team was actually part of the food distribution trucks government promised.
- Most of the community members have not accessed health services including family planning, this is due to fear of mixing up with the already COVID -19 sick people at the health facilities and the further distances of travel since public transport was stopped.