Good hygiene practices and the observation of safety protocols remain some of the most effective ways to prevent COVID-19 infections.
In recognition of this, the Mastercard Foundation and WaterAid Ghana (WAG) have announced the launch of a campaign to promote good hygiene in public places, including markets and bus terminals in several districts in the country.
The campaign, dubbed Safety of Markets & Pre-empting Stigmatization of COVID-19 Survivors: An Integrated Hygiene Behaviour Change Campaign will also facilitate the re-integration of COVID-19 recovered persons into their families and/or communities, including markets where they earn their livelihoods.
It will be complemented by on-ground engagements to ensure adherence to these protocols.
In a statement issued by the company, Country Director of WaterAid Ghana, Abdul Nashiru Mohammed said, “As restrictions are eased, now more than ever, we need to be vigilant in protecting ourselves and those close to us. Hygiene practices remain the most cost-effective way of containing the virus and stemming its spread, which is why we are launching this initiative to enable regular handwashing in busy locations such as markets and transport terminals where women, youth, and men seek livelihoods or go to undertake essential activities.
It is therefore imperative to back hygiene promotion with the provision of WASH facilities to help people cultivate good hygiene practices. We are excited to partner with the Mastercard Foundation to deliver hygiene facilities as the first line of defence against the coronavirus.”
Also, Regional Head for Western, Central, and Northern Africa at the Mastercard Foundation, Nathalie Gabala, said, “Most at-risk groups earn their livelihoods in public locations, such as marketplaces and transport terminals across the country and it is imperative that they are informed about safety protocols and supported to practice good hygiene to protect themselves and their families. Beyond providing information and hygiene facilities, this partnership with WaterAid enables us to tackle the stigmatization of recovered persons in the selected communities.”
She further noted that as part of the partnership, WaterAid Ghana will provide hygiene and sanitary items such as veronica buckets, detergents, and handwashing stations in 15 markets across the three regions to promote regular handwashing and hygiene.
The campaign will be rolled out in collaboration with local government authorities and the Ghana Health Service in the Greater Accra, Northern and Eastern regions of Ghana.
It will also leverage on a variety of media channels including TV, national and community-based radio stations, billboards, social media and print publications to create awareness about safety protocols and preventive measures.
The campaign will include an intensive public education component to combat the stigmatization faced by recovered COVID-19 persons, who are sometimes excluded from actively participating in community-wide activities, including plying their trade in markets or transport terminals.