A national communication campaign and community engagement activities for a coordinated COVID-19 response in Kyrgyz Republic
Under the Sustainable Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Development Project launched in 2016, the World Bank has allocated around $100,000 for specific COVID-19 response activities at the national and regional levels.
The main components of the developed COVID-19 response include:
- Developing a coordinated National Communication Campaign about COVID-19: in partnership with the Republican Centre for Health Promotion and Mass Communication (the agency mandated by the Ministry of Health), the World Bank team contributed to the development of a joint action plan for the National Communication Campaign. The team brought together international organisations, donors and development partners to facilitate the coordination of efforts and ensure the coherence of the campaign.The project team also supported the Republican Centre for Health Promotion and Mass Communication in creating mass media communication to raise public awareness about COVID-19 and encourage preventive behaviours. In agreement with the Ministry of Health, materials were developed around five key messages:
- Compliance with COVID-19 preventive behaviours in public places, including use of facemasks, handwashing with soap or hand sanitizer, and physical distancing.
- Proper disposal of face masks, gloves and used tissues.
- Cleaning and disinfection of touch surfaces and personal belongings, such as gadgets and accessories.
- Reducing social stigma associated with COVID-19.
- Personal belongings recommended to carry or have at home during the pandemic, including facemasks, hand sanitizer, soap, gloves, disposable tissues, etc.
The project team helped with the design of the messages and communication materials such as posters, infographics for social media posts, video clips, etc. They also contributed to the development of technical guidance for communities and community-based services (e.g. how to interact with COVID-19 positive patients in communities). All materials were produced in both Kyrgyz and Russian.
- Engaging with communities and building local capacity: in addition to the National Communication Campaign, the project team supported community-based initiatives through building local capacity. They trained existing Village Health Committees on COVID-19 and associated preventive measures to increase outreach in communities. Village Health Committees are non-profit volunteer unions of rural residents mostly recruited among women and youth. These committees were also supported on their initiatives to locally produce facemasks and soaps for distribution to vulnerable individuals and more marginalised people. Community health workers were provided with guidance and training on COVID-19 case management.The project team also trained teachers on awareness raising activities on the importance of handwashing with soap at school. They encouraged teachers to use interactive activities such as handwashing demonstrations, and to produce video clips to sensitise their communities through social media.
- Improving access to safe and clean water and improved sanitation in communities, using the rural Water Supply and Sanitation monitoring system: the project team supported the rehabilitation of water supply systems in the World Bank project regions. They installed handwashing facilities in public places and upgraded handwashing and sanitation facilities of all schools. Sanitation improvements at home have been promoted through incentive grants and training. The project has been collecting data to feed the existing rural Water Supply and Sanitation monitoring system (SIASAR) in place since 2019. This system aims to inform the Government and development partners about existing needs, resources prioritisation and the implementation of WASH activities. The project team leveraged their monitoring visits to further promote handwashing with soap in all communities visited by field staff.