Maryam Abdi Ibrahim, 33, lives with her seven children (5 girls and 2 boys) in Gabiney village in Hudur district. During the onset of COVID -19, she avoided seeking treatment in the health facility due to fear of contracting COVID-19 messages. However due to Action Against Hunger (ACF) BRCiS consortium project intervention through the community hygiene volunteers (CHV) teams and supervisors, the program started awareness campaigns on prevention messages and hygiene sessions at the villages which saw Maryam Abdi become one of the beneficiaries of the awareness campaigns. The CHVs created awareness on COVID -19 prevention and response by disseminating messages on observing social distancing and avoiding public gatherings and encouraging good hygiene practices by observing the critical times of hand washing sensitizing the beneficiaries about water treatment through household water treatment (HHWT).
In the Covid-19 prevention messages and hygiene sessions held in Gabiney village Maryam received Covid-19 messages through household visit conducted by community hygiene volunteers and supervisors based in the village.
“Previously most of the villagers from Gabiney including me did not know much about the COVID-19 virus and its causes, people were spreading different myths about the corona virus and there were a lot of misinformation. With the help of Community hygiene volunteers,
I now know the causes as well as preventive measures I need to take to reduce community transmission, says Maryam.
Apart from household visits, community hygiene volunteers also used microphones to reach the masses within the community and encourage community members to adopt the use of tippy-tap simple handwashing station at the community level to increase the practice of handwashing to reduce transmission of the COVID-19 and acute watery diarrhea (AWD) diseases.
“Before this community awareness and sensitization campaign, members of the community did not give much attention to hygiene practices but with the deaths associated with COVID -19 globally, we have accepted the reality. We have been taking all the precautions and advice given to us by the community hygiene volunteers; including setting up simple handwashing stations at home to scale up the frequency of handwashing during this pandemic”, added Maryam.
To complement the hygiene promotion and COVID-19 messages dissemination, ACF trained 72 CHVs and deployed in 12 BRCiS participant communities in Hudur to cascade hygiene promotion and COVID-19 awareness. Through this activity, ACF distributed 1,683 hygiene kits and installed 90 hand free handwashing stations at community centers in order to scale up handwashing practices, behavioral change amongst the community and be upfront and prepared for future health crisis and to save life and end preventable death in the communities