Bangladesh

COVID-19 Response and WASH Lessons Learned in Bangladesh

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Evaluation and Lessons Learned
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SUMMARY

• As of 14 November 2020, there have been 430,496 positive cases, 347,849 recoveries, and 6,173 deaths across the country.

• Since the start of the pandemic, UNICEF and the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) have ensured the continuity of safe water for seven million people (including four million women and girls) out of a target of 10 million people.

• Sustaining behavior-change programms is necessary to continue good handwashing practices as well as scale up innovations in handwashing stations.

• Systematic monitoring and reporting on water quality and handwashing practices in rural and urban areas remains a constraint.

Context

The COVID-19 pandemic spread to Bangladesh when its index case in Dhaka was confirmed on 8 March 2020. As of 14 November 2020, there have been 430,496 positive cases, 347,849 recoveries, and 6,173 deaths across the country. The most affected districts include Dhaka (136,343 cases), Chattogram (37,835 cases), and Sylhet (9,369 cases). UNICEF has supported an uninterrupted water supply all over the country (including the disinfection of water sources) and IEC materials on hand hygiene; government counterparts (including city corporations/municipalities, rural areas, and Health Care Facilities (HCFs)) as well as the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE); and has worked with religious leaders through Islamic Relief Bangladesh.

Response

Strategy/Approach taken by Bangladesh Country Office:

Continuity of services: DPHE and UNICEF worked to secure an uninterrupted water supply across all 64 districts of the country to ensure safe water was available for handwashing, as well as to protect against other waterborne diseases. Other support for WASH services included, the repair of handpumps, chlorination of piped water systems, disinfection of water point surroundings, distribution of bars of soap, and construction of handwashing devices in public places. UNICEF transferred funds to the DPHE for the prepositioning of bleaching powder, tools, and spare parts for the operation and maintenance of tube wells. A series of interventions were supported which are highlighted below: