In Bangladesh, a country of more than 160 million people, the first signs of the epidemic are beginning to show, with more than 50 confirmed cases at the end of March. The race against time to stop the spread of the coronavirus has begun and Enfants du Monde's partner on the ground, Building Resources Across Communities (BRAC), is already participating in it.
Training and protection of health workers
BRAC has taken measures to ensure the protection of its staff and beneficiaries of its interventions and is mobilizing its extensive network of community health workers throughout the country to disseminate prevention messages to the population.
First, key BRAC staff were trained on key prevention and response measures for the COVID-19 pandemic by experts from the Biomedical Department of the National Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research of Bangladesh.
Then, a group of 15 'trainers of trainers' developed training materials for infection prevention and control, the establishment of standardized protocols and communication materials in local languages. These trainers used an online platform to quickly reach the 3,000 offices of Enfants du Monde’s local partner.
Information campaign for the local population
Finally, nearly 100,000 community health workers and volunteers were deployed in the field to inform the population about five key practices to control the spread of COVID-19: maintaining social distance, hand washing, cough education, home quarantine, symptom identification and remote consultations. Health workers wear masks and use a hydro-alcoholic solution. They also distribute explanatory leaflets on key gestures and good practices.
Until 5 April, Enfants du Monde's local partner was supporting the government's efforts in a 10-day awareness campaign targeting 5 million households to control the spread of the virus. The awareness campaign is being carried out through a number of channels including an online training platform, social media, a Facebook page and a blog.
Despite these efforts, the Community Clinic is not yet ready for the identification and triage of persons suspected of COVID-19. In the Sorail and Kasba sub-districts, as in other sub-districts of the country, health care providers at the Community Clinic have not yet received training on the prevention and control of COVID-19 infection, do not yet have personal protective equipment (gloves, masks...), nor do they have standardized protocols or communication materials to inform patients and their attendants. These centres do not have sufficient financial resources to be able to send the tests to the COVID reference laboratories.
Actions of Enfants du Monde
Enfants du Monde is currently implementing the following actions through its partnership with BRAC: training health care providers, providing personal protective equipment, supporting transport costs for tests and providing communication materials (posters, videos...). Emphasis is being placed through various information/training approaches on the protection recommendations for health personnel who carry out prenatal visits, deliveries and postnatal care. Specific information on protection against COVID-19, the identification of suspect cases and the organization of health services for mothers of newborns is being provided to health care providers in order to reduce the spread of the virus within health structures.