Coronavirus (756) Reaching communities in Chad with COVID-19 safety messages

19 June, 2020

Below are extracts from a news item on the WHO Africa Regional Office website. Read online: https://www.afro.who.int/news/reaching-communities-chad-covid-19-safety-...

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N’Djamena, Chad, 18 June

... When the pandemic reached Chad, health authorities rolled out a raft of response measures, including door-to-door visits by community health educators to relay messages on safety.

While face-to-face meetings are time-consuming, the sessions are more personal, often carried out by someone from the same community who speaks the same language and has the appropriate cultural understanding. Unlike broadcast messages, people can ask questions and seek clarifications in door-to-door campaigns.

Although nearly 700 community health educators have been trained in the country’s seven provinces, a major shortcoming of the door-to-door campaigns is limited reach. A call centre, messages disseminated through 17 radio stations in several towns and thousands of posters complement the house-to-house health education drive launched in May 2020 and which runs for up to three months.

The community approach is also an effective way of combatting rumours and disinformation, says Djazouli Ibn Adam, who heads the health promotion division at the Ministry of Health. Since the house-to-house campaign was launched, more than 103 000 people have been educated on COVID-19 across the country.

Village chiefs, neighbourhood leaders and health workers have volunteered to be part of Chad’s door-to-door campaigns to sensitize the public...

“We are so used to communal living and sharing that it is impossible to make people understand that they need to keep distant from each other to prevent infection,” says Ms Loumaye. “We try as much as we can to explain why it is important, but this is part of our life and it is very difficult to make people change.”

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Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese). Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org