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Mobilizing communities in the fight against Covid-19

  • Published at 01:20 pm August 13th, 2021
Brac Bagerhat
Each Brac healthcare worker made visits to at least 20 households every day in Khulna’s Daspara Dhaka Tribune

From June 1 till August 9, around 850,000 facemasks and 175,000 leaflets were distributed in the Bagerhat

Hundreds of healthcare workers and nurses are mobilizing communities across the Bagerhat district to effectively raise awareness against the deadly coronavirus infection as it continues to spread rapidly throughout the country.

They are playing an active role in preventing the transmission by going door-to-door to distribute facemasks and leaflets that contain awareness messages on Covid-19 signs and symptoms 

From June 1 till August 9, around 850,000 facemasks and 175,000 leaflets were distributed in the Bagerhat, under Brac’s Community Fort in Resisting Covid-19 (CFRC) project, which is currently operational in 35 high-risk districts.

Currently, 74 health workers, 740 nurses, and 54 community mobilizers and hotspot mobilizers are engaged under the CFRC initiative. 

Jharna Rani Das, a resident of Daspara in the district, said: “Healthcare workers are visiting our homes and teaching us about the deadly virus and how to prevent its transmission. Now, I know about the Covid symptoms and also know the importance of seeking medical attention in advance.”

Mumtaz Begum, a pregnant housewife from Daspara, said: “Brac nurses regularly visit my home and provide specialized pregnancy care tailored for my need considering the pandemic.”

Kalpana Rani Das, a Brac healthcare worker in Daspara, said she visited 20 households each day. “I collect data from these households and submit them in our customized app which all our top officials can access through the internet.”

She also arranges telemedicine services for people with Covid symptoms in her visits.

Shahidul Islam, a tea seller in the CNB market area, said: “Brac workers visit once we open our shops and distribute leaflets among everyone. They also make sure everyone is wearing a mask. Most of the people in the market are now using masks because of their activities.”

Masudur Rahman, Brac’s (Bagerhat) area manager, said from June 1 till August 9, health workers made visits to 53,095 households in nine upazilas of the district.

“At this time, we identified 5,154 infected people and sent them to local hospitals. Besides, we provided telemedicine services to 4,652 people. Meanwhile, mobilizers are conducting awareness-raising programs at 360 identified hotspots in the district,” he added.

He also said 204 community clinic group committees have been engaged in awareness-raising activities and rapid response.

Satgumbuj Union Parishad Sheikh Chairman Akhtaruzzaman Bachchu said Brac’s work to distribute leaflets and facemasks to curb Covid cases has been satisfactory in his union. “Health workers have been going door to door to raise awareness among people who have accepted them as their own.”

Bagerhat Civil Surgeon Humayun Kabir said: “Brac health workers are working to make the general public aware of the Covid situation in Bagerhat. They are also providing both psychological and financial support to them. 

“They also assisted the health department in collecting samples for Covid test and arranged training sessions for health workers in this regard.”

With a community-driven Covid-19 response and local-level health system strengthening approach, Brac has partnered with the DGHS, CSO Alliance and UN agencies to implement this initiative. A total of 41 local NGOs in the identified districts are acting as implementing partners.

Brac is putting maximum emphasis on the proper use of masks to ward off transmission. The other approaches include spreading information and motivation about handwashing with soap and water, maintaining coughing etiquettes and social distancing and vaccine registration. Measures are also being taken to address misinformation and rumours around Covid-19.

Community groups are being engaged in awareness activities and rapid response. In addition, local government officials, volunteers and community leaders are being empowered with knowledge on Covid-19 related issues to ensure preventive behaviour at the hotspots, such as mosques, transport hubs, markets and shops.

Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Dr Morseda Chowdhury, director of health, nutrition and population program (HNPP) at Brac, said: “After the outbreak of the Delta variant in India, our health experts realized it was only a matter of time before it started spreading in Bangladesh as the two neighbouring nations shared a border.

“Subsequently, based on knowledge from past experience, Brac along with its partners decided to undertake the CFRC project to prevent the transmission of the deadly strand of the coronavirus,” she added.

This story has been published in partnership with Brac

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