COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic and spread to Bangladesh in March 2020. The first three known cases were reported on 8 March 2020 by the country’s epidemiology institute, IEDCR. The total number of confirmed cases is increasing following geometric patterns in Bangladesh as there have been almost a million of confirmed cases with almost 15000 deaths.
Following are the initiatives taken by AOSED as the part of COVID-19 response in its working areas…
Awareness raising campaign: AOSED have conducted COVID-19 awareness campaign in village, city and slum areas in Khulna district since the inception of the outbreak. Easy reading leaflets and posters are designed and distributed to people for creating mass awareness regarding maintaining hygiene practice and social distancing.
Hygiene Kit distribution: AOSED have already distributed hygiene kits e.g. soap, hand sanitizer, sanitary napkins to 2600 households in Khulna areas. 10000 bottles of hand sanitizers have been prepared by maintaining WHO standard and distributed among the frontlines (police, health workers, waste collectors, hospitals).
Communication with beneficiaries: AOSED is maintaining over-phone communication with its direct beneficiaries from April 2020 to keep track on their health condition. So far, AOSED have provided medical and financial support to 15 beneficiaries who have been tested positive for COVID-19 by arranging necessary treatment in hospitals and expenses for treatment.
Emergency food support: There are millions of people in Bangladesh living below the poverty line earns their living by daily wages. Due to the pandemic, there government issued ‘lockdown’ several times as a part of virus containment which results in unemployment of these population. Considering this circumstance, AOSED have provided food support for 1 month to 200 families in Khulna areas who have currently no job to feed their families with financial assistance of Give2Asia.
Personal Protective Equipment for Waste Collectors:
Waste workers and cleaners face a greater risk of infection, injury and death than do average workers, and rarely have insurance or access to health services. Given the nature of their work and their living conditions, they are at higher risk than the general population of becoming infected by COVID-19. It is therefore important to ensure the health and safety of these workers and their families and mitigate any risk of the spread of the infection through their movement. Considering these facts, Personal Protective Equipment (face masks, gumboots, hand gloves, and umbrellas) has been provided to 400 waste workers and cleaners working in different zones of Khulna City Corporation in financial support of Give2Asia and implemented by AOSED.
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT
There are around 1200 waste collectors working door-to-door on a daily-basis wage (Below USD 2) in Khulna City Corporation. Unfortunately, almost all of them can’t maintain appropriate safety measures during the collection of the wastes from door-to-door. On the other hand, as they can’t afford to buy and use personal safety equipment like face masks, gloves, boots, gown and face shield they are facing a serious health security concern during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
AOSED have already started providing personal protective equipment i.e. face masks, gloves, gumboots, and umbrella to 400 household waste pickers of Khulna City Corporation area. We need more support to provide this support to the rest of the waste collectors to help them maintain a healthy and more efficient work environment.
In the next six months, we are planning to provide hygiene kit support to 50000 people from 10000 families. It is a matter of concern that the organizations do not often consider providing food items especially for infants and elderly members of their beneficiary families. But they require special attention during this situation. Most of the times, despite having intention of doing so, NGOs cannot provide baby food as they have to abide by government directive. AOSED have the planning to include protein-rich item and infant food in the relief item in future.