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UNAMID and state health authorities launch community awareness campaign against COVID-19

Photo by Hamid Abdulsalam, UNAMID.

UNAMID’s Communications and Public Information (CPIS) and Governance and Community Stabilization Sections (GCSS), in partnership with the Darfur state authorities, this week launched a two-week Community Engagement Awareness Campaign (CEAC) in internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in north and central Darfur to raise awareness of the communities on the preparedness, prevention and combat against the newly-erupted corona virus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Darfur, Sudan.

From 31 March to 1 April, the CEAC Team conducted four awareness-raising sessions with key community leaders in Al Salaam and Aboushouk IDPs camps in El Fasher, north Darfur and one session at Hasa Hissa IDPs camp in Zalingei, central Darfur, on 2 April. The community groups comprised Head Sheikhs (Traditional Leaders), Women and Youth representatives and an Imam (Religious leader). Participants were not only strongly urged but were financially supported to ensure the information acquired cascades to the different levels in their respective communities. After the sessions, participants were given packages of soap to distribute to their communities for hand washing. Few participants were invited to ensure the Mission adheres to social distancing and minimal crowd COVID-19 health requirements.

The program, part of the UNAMID Communications Strategy for Prevention and Combat on COVID-19, has been facilitated by the Mission in support of the state Health Ministries in north, central and west Darfur whilst south Darfur will be covered before the end of April 2020.

The CEAC Team includes representatives from the Missions’ Medical and CPIS Sections and is led by health officers from the state Ministries of Health and Social Development who are responsible for the delivery of background information on the disease, clinical symptoms, transmission and preventive measures. UNAMID medical representative then focus on presenting issues related to the Mission’s support to the Sudanese Government’s fight against COVID-19, community perception on the Mission and the status of the COVID-19 in UNAMID ; the Mission’s COVID-19 Contingency Plan that outlines preparedness to prevent and combat the disease and measures taken so far that include staff travel tracking, mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days etc. On the latter point, Mission staff who arrived recently from their travels have all been cleared of any corona virus infection, after completing their mandatory 14-day quarantine.  

Apart from facilitating the program, the Mission also sponsors a one-hour radio program on Radio Zalingei; printing of banners, posters and flyers on COVID-19, logistics and some operational tools to disseminate COVID-19 messages.  The Mission, in continued collaborative efforts with the state health authorities, will soon initiate street publicity campaigns in all five Darfur states and Radio and Television drama on the disease on the same stations.