Sierra Leone is one of the few countries in the subregion that has presently recorded fewer cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). But in a country where the scourge of the Ebola Viral Disease left a significant footprint, the government is taking no chances but 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 local communities. In these areas, Solidaridad is already providing sustainable solutions to improve the lives of cocoa, oil palm, cashew and coffee farmers.
“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 Solidaridad for being the first organization to respond by providing 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
Targeting the most vulnerable communities
The awareness drive also covers school pupils in the target communities.
“Solidaridad is happy to provide support to reach school pupils 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,” says Nicholas Jengre, Solidaridad country
representative in Sierra Leone.
Farming communities in the Eastern province where Solidaridad currently implements its cocoa and oil palm sustainability actions have in the past suffered from the outbreak of Lassa fever and the Ebola Viral Disease. With the scourge of COVID-19 on the horizon, the farmers are happy to receive information that can keep them protected.
“Solidaridad seeks to help farmers attain self-sufficiency and maximise available local resources. Cognizant of the potential adverse impact of COVID-19 on their lives, we are happy to support the Ministry of Health in a multisectoral approach to prevent and control the spread of the disease to
farming communities,” says Nicholas.
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.