Pakistan

Localized actions for social behavior change in COVID-19

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Localization Shines a Spotlight on Ignorance

Infectious diseases remain a major challenge particularly in developing countries such as Pakistan; implementation and compliance with infection control guidelines should be a high priority for the safety of affected community as well as it is pertinent that hand washing is practiced with rigor.

As per WHO guidelines improved hygiene including handwashing is the key in preventing spread of the diseases. Handwashing is the simplest most cost affected and efficacious preventive measure that can make a significant difference against the challenge of infectious diseases such Coronavirus (COVID- 19).

One of the major barriers observed during initial COVID-19 response is non-availability of hand washing facilities and soap at public places especially hospitals, quarantine and isolation centres, markets, railway stations and bus stands, thus preventing people from washing hands

AGAHEE is determined to bring a social and behavioural change among communities through awareness and service provision to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. With support of Water and Sanitation Authority (WASA) Multan, the water bowsers were converted into mobile hand washing stations with the provision chlorinated water and soaps. These stations were placed at public places and were routed to most crowded areas during peak hours including markets, fruits and veggie markets, etc. Apart from the peak hours, water bowsers were performing their work during alternate hours. Through this initiative, people receive a regular flow of people throughout the working hours of the day.

“More than 5,000 people are benefiting on a regular basis to wash their hands resulting in a positive behavioural change of regularly washing hands.”

Water bowsers are active from March 2020 and are now placed at cash relief centers of Ehsaas Programme in Punjab. These relief centers are used to register and distribute cash among the vulnerable people. These centers receive a regular flow of people throughout the working hours of the day.

With close coordination of three district administration, Multan Lahore and Mlzaffargarh 16 temporary handwashing stations are installed at different locations of city areas especially hospitals, quarantine and isolation centers, markets, railway stations and bus stands. 29, 000 people are regularly utilizing these facilities to wash their hands with chlorinated water and soap.

AGAHE ensured that SOPs of physical distancing were followed by the users on both type of hand washing stations. Government has been a great support in operations and maintenance of these facilities and taking further care for its sustainability.

AGAHE is a non-profit organization with a vision to create an enabling environment for vulnerable segments of society where they can utilize their full potential for improvement in their lives. AGAHE is a member of National Humanitarian Network (NHN) from Punjab chapter. Work of local organizations like AGAHE shines as a spotlight on ignorance among communities for progressive and constructive behaviour change.