PALM Corps, Vision For Humanity (ViFoH) and People Empowering People (PEP) have been implementing a 4 months COVID -19 Response Project in Arua District since May 2020 with funding from OXFAM. The project contributed to strengthen community surveillance , enhance risk communication and social mobilization, strengthen WASH campaigns in 3 food markets and provide soap and salt to 140 selected vulnerable households.
Key among the project activities was communiuty perception tracking. This exercise helped to document what the public thinks about COVID-19. The findings helped to craft messages to respond to the perceptions:
Community perception tracking was conducted in two ways. First, through the weekly VHTs surveillance reporting on COVID-19 and video documentaries.
The video documentary below shows some of the community perceptions on COVID-19 in Odubo zone, Rhinocamp refugee settlement.
The following were some perceptions documented from the weekly surveillance reporting by Village Health Team (VHTs) in Odubo zone, Rhinocamp refugee settlement
- Ugandans do not die of COVID -19.
- Alcohol can cure COVID-19. There is a wine (Corona wine) which is on extreme demand.
- COVID-19 is non-existent and it is just a myth to curtail enjoyment of life.
- COVID-19 only attacks whites not Africans and it is a disease for the rich not the poor
- God is tired of the sins people have been committing and COVID-19 has come to end the world.
- There is no need to panic we just accept it like HIV/AIDS. This unfortunately has caused laxity in many of the community members.
- COVID -19 is for travelers not for those who stay within the village and do not travel a lot.
- COVID -19 is real but preventable.
- COVID-19 measures are unnecessary and just a ploy and punishment by government on the citizens especially people of West Nile.
With the continuous risk communication and social mobilization messages dervied from the community perception tracking, VHTs have triggered 2,401 (64.9%) out of 3,701 households to install tippy taps for mandatory hand washing. 17 alerts on suspected COVID-19 cases were referred to the Arua Regional Referral and Ocea Institutional Quarantine Centres for support and 81 new entrants were registered for follow up.