Locally led COVID-19 call centre connects patients and doctors in Somaliland
Somaliland confirmed the first case of coronavirus in April 2020. While the country has taken certain precautions to curb the spread of the virus by closing schools and banning flights, the number is increasing each day, community acceptance is very low, and people are still following their normal routines in the big cities. The main markets are open and large crowds of people are gathering every day specifically during Ramadan and Eid celebrations.
At the same time, there are ongoing rumours that coronavirus cannot affect the Muslim community as they already practise ablution five times every day, and that it is a common cold and people don’t need to worry much about it. These rumours are encouraging people not to take crucial steps like physical distancing and if they feel ill not to seek medical support or isolate themselves.
With all the misinformation and stigmatizing of those who are infected, it’s imperative that the government and other civil society organizations increase their community outreach initiatives and make sure that people receive the right information related to the virus in the easiest way possible. The more people receive accurate information, the higher the chances that they will understand and act according to the instructions provided by health officials.
At the moment, the government and non-governmental organizations are conducting traditional awareness rising throughout the country including printing posters with key messages and using radio and TV stations to broadcast information related to the virus so that people can be aware of that.
Shaqadoon, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health in Somaliland and Oxfam, established a COVID-19 call centre in Hargeisa to share information related to the virus and how the community can protect themselves. This two-way communication system is encouraging the community to engage and call the centre whenever they need any information or feel sick. So far, the centre received 658,442 calls since its establishment in mid-April.
Find also this project on Hygienehub.info