Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief (CPAR) is working with our field officers in Nkhata Bay in northern Malawi and in Assela and Oromia in Ethiopia to raise awareness about the importance of handwashing, basic hygiene, and social distancing. COVID-19 has not yet hit these areas in full force, and we have a short window of opportunity to reach people in these countries where the health systems are not equipped to handle an outbreak.
Nkhata Bay, Assela, and Oromia are in remote, rural areas, and CPAR is lucky to already have field officers in place who are well-known in the communities. These populations are most at risk, as they do not have the capacity to self-isolate, and there is limited or no access to clean water or robust health services. Our field officers are showing them how to build tippy taps by putting jugs of water on top of structures made from branches or other materials. A tippy tap can be constructed anywhere to allow the person to wash their hands easily.
To avoid putting our field officers or the local people at risk, we are conducting our campaigns through mobile van road shows, radio broadcasts, and door-to-door canvassing rather than in groups to limit the number of people in one location.
In addition, CPAR has partnered with Fitche Hospital in Ethiopia for many years, sending volunteers and supplies. This rural hospital supports 57 health centres and 297 health posts, for a population of 1.5 million people. We are currently raising funds to provide the doctors and nurses with desperately needed personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, medication, and other resources. Most worrying of all, the hospital does not have a single ventilator, making the need for preventive campaigns like ours even more vital.
Please donate now to help us get ahead of COVID-19 in Ethiopia and in Malawi. Together, we can work to stop it from hitting those countries as hard as it has hit here at home.