Jordan’s COVID-19 RCCE response
This case study documents Jordan’s COVID-19 Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) response from March 2020 – when the COVID-19 pandemic was declared – to January 2021. The case study shares the key successes of this response as well as the key challenges faced by the response, and the major lessons learnt from both the success and challenges to inform Jordan’s COVID-19 RCCE response in the year 2021. The key users of this case study are the government stakeholders of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, including the Ministry of Health, UNICEF Jordan and other key national and regional partners and stakeholders.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan acted across four key response areas in the first phase of the response. With the Ministry of Health playing a leading role and UNICEF Jordan providing technical support, these four response areas were:
- Infection prevention and control (including health and WASH)
- Immediate social protection measures
- Education and child protection
- Risk communication and community engagement
Jordan’s RCCE efforts helped the country to move fast early on in the COVID-19 pandemic with one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, making the country one of the few success stories in the fight against COVID-19 during 2020 in the Middle East.
Anticipating that easing of the lockdown would lead to a COVID-19 wave, UNICEF Jordan developed a roadmap for the Ministry of Heath’s second-phase activities. As it became clear that COVID-19 would persist over a longer period of time than originally predicted, the priority of the second-phase shifted towards targeting social norms. Recognising the negative social impact of a long-running pandemic, a cross-cutting concern of this phase was also social inclusion. The second-phase activities, therefore, actively ensured gender, age and disability inclusion.
This second phase was guided by a roadmap developed by UNICEF Jordan in July 2020, which identified priority RCCE actions for the Ministry of Health that could be dynamically implemented in the context of varying levels of lockdown restrictions in Jordan. The roadmap helped the Ministry of Health with internal RCCE planning and decision-making and also mobilised support from funding agencies as well as strategic and technical partners. Crucially, the roadmap sought to address key behavioural developments in the Jordanian population that were beginning to increasingly challenge compliance with public health guidance on COVID-19 in the country. These challenges included rising complacency and behavioural fatigue as well as harmful social practices towards women, children and the youth, such as gender-based violence (GBV) and loss of learning.
Since October 2020, Jordan has indeed seen a spike in the COVID-19 cases with easing of the lockdown, and by early 2021, Jordan was one of the hardest hit countries in the region.
As of 31 January 2021, Jordan had identified:
This makes the case for long term investment in and support for the COVID-19 RCCE response an ever-more critical priority for Jordan.