We at HMCHA are always looking for ways we can serve the broader community, especially in times of unmet needs. We requested a grant from Plymouth Covenant Church to educate villagers about the prevention of COVID-19, and quickly planned the strategy that would be used with the District Health Office and village leaders in the East Shewa Zone.
A Health officer, nurse, flyers, posters, a rental vehicle, masks, hand sanitizer, water containers, mattresses & blankets for a safe house for those who have to quarantine were all organized with attention to detail. Our staff packed the rental vehicle and off they went through the mud and down roads that were nearly impassible, with the goal of reaching 10,000 people on the itinerary of villages large and small, stopping at community meetings, showing up on market days and religious gatherings while social distancing.
The health officer and nurse gave face masks and hand sanitizer to 100 people who work in risky areas, while others were encouraged to use soap and water rather than hand sanitizers. Isolation rooms were offered by local individuals but the rooms had no mattresses or blankets in them. HMCHA used part of the grant to provide these items in case someone needed to be quarantined away from their families.
Since there is little COVID testing available in rural areas, we hope that this training will help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus to many villagers in the places we visited and beyond as they share what they learned with family and friends.