As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads across the globe, our staff in Tanzania are preparing themselves and the community in the Bariadi District for a potential wave of coronavirus cases. In compliance with social distancing guidelines, in-person meetings through our Survive and Thrive Program have been temporarily suspended. WellShare staff are now working hard to provide accurate and timely information across all the villages we serve. Using a van and loudspeaker, we are promoting hand-washing, avoiding touching your face, and self-isolating if sick, throughout the District.
We are also working with health teams from 15 health facilities to provide messaging via a phone messaging service. Using a ‘telephone tree’ model, we send health education messages to ten Bariadi District ‘cell leaders’ who represent 10 plots within a village. They then pass on the information to the residents within their allocated plots. In addition, a group of women who started soap-making businesses through our Survive and Thrive Program are ramping up production and selling more soap than ever. Another group of women are sewing cloth face masks. With just over 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in all of Tanzania as of mid-April, these efforts are not only working to help prevent rapid spread of the disease in rural Tanzania, but also combating misinformation and reducing fear of COVID-19.