ALERT- HI adapts its programs to face the COVID-19   | April 9, 2020

Two persons are washing their hands with soap and bottled waterin Madascar

HI is deeply concerned for vulnerable populations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Persons with disabilities, persons with chronic diseases, refugees, older people, etc., are particularly exposed to the pandemic, especially in countries where public health systems are less resourced. Given this unprecedented and dramatic situation, HI is taking special measures to protect its teams, adapt its […]

HI is deeply concerned for vulnerable populations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Persons with disabilities, persons with chronic diseases, refugees, older people, etc., are particularly exposed to the pandemic, especially in countries where public health systems are less resourced.

Given this unprecedented and dramatic situation, HI is taking special measures to protect its teams, adapt its operational capabilities and continue assisting the most vulnerable.

HI adapts its interventions by including actions to prevent transmission and ensuring access to basic needs (food, hygiene products, health services) for the most vulnerable ones. 50 projects have started to integrate measures in response to the coronavirus, with awareness and prevention actions (Algeria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Sierra Leone,…), adaptations of HI logistics support in Central Africa, and distributions of protective equipment (gloves, masks, hydro-alcoholic gel, especially in Rwanda).

Awareness of hygiene and protection measures is HI priority. HI teams are trained to protect themselves and to sensitize the people they help to prevention gestures (hand hygiene with soap or hydro-alcoholic gel, respect of distances, good practices to protect oneself…). Specific advices are given to persons with disabilities, with adapted format for those who have difficulty communicating, such as the deaf, hard of hearing or visually impaired persons. Prevention messages also target caregivers.

HI’s logistics business unit specializing in supply chain and logistics solutions for NGOs, Atlas Logistique, is ready to help. Atlas Logistique will be able to provide NGOs with its logistics platforms and its expertise as an analyst of access issues. Emergency response activities include the distribution of hygiene materials or livelihood support.

COVID-19 ‘s impacts in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh

In Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, for example, a third of the HI teams are involved in the pursuit of essential activities and in the response to the COVID-19. Our teams conduct awareness raising sessions on good hygiene practices in relation among refugees and host communities, identify people in need of medical care and refer them to partner organizations, provide individual psychological support to the most vulnerable. HI has made available two storage areas for humanitarian equipment from NGOs and a fleet of trucks to deliver humanitarian equipment (hygiene kits, mobility aids, etc.) to the populations. More than 150 online trainings (including some specific to the implementation of the humanitarian response to the COVID-19) will therefore be available to the members of our teams in the coming days, and also accessible by other colleagues in Nepal.

Jean Loup Gouot, director of HI Bangladesh explains the situation of Bangladesh and the risks for rohingya population related to COVID-19 pandemic.

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