Sierra Leone has fewer cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) than other countries in the West African region, but in a country where the scourge of Ebola left a significant footprint, the government is taking no chances and is pursuing proactive measures to stem the tide of the pandemic.
Collaboration for greater reach
Solidaridad is committed to complementing the government’s effort to control the spread of the disease. Working in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation through its District Health Management Teams to step up public awareness of the pandemic, Solidaridad has supported the production of relevant information, education and communication materials for dissemination to over 20,000 farmers in 300 communities.
“The contribution of development organizations like Solidaridad to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is crucial especially in border points of the Eastern province”, says Sheku Momoh, a community health officer in Buedu in Kailahun district of the Eastern province.
Receiving some materials for dissemination, Sheku commended the early and coordinated response to provide the necessary tools to create awareness about the disease. He assured the items would be distributed to schools, clinics and local communities along the country’s borders.
Targeting the most vulnerable communities
The awareness drive also covers school pupils in the target communities. Nicholas Jengre, a Solidaridad Country Representative, recognizes the significant role that students can play in amplifying the message.
Reaching school pupils is important so that they can pass on relevant information on COVID-19 to their parents or other members of their households. This is one way we can ensure that the message reaches many people,” – Nicholas Jengre
Farming communities in the Eastern province where Solidaridad currently implements its cocoa and oil palm sustainability actions had previously suffered from the outbreak of Lassa fever and Ebola. With the scourge of COVID-19 on the horizon, the farmers are happy to receive information that can keep them protected.
The goal is to help farmers attain self-sufficiency and maximise available local resources” – Nicholas Jengre
Taking a multisectoral and partnership based approach is critical in preventing and controlling the spread of the disease. Additionally, awareness materials on COVID-19 have been provided to border security personnel and local chiefs working with local partners. In local communities, Solidaridad has adjusted its programme implementation to incorporate coronavirus awareness in field engagement with farmers.