As coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rapidly spread worldwide, our global staff is taking all necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of all children and communities we serve worldwide. You can help the most vulnerable remain safe and get access to life-changing resources such as clean water and health and hygiene training. Your generous donations have equipped our staff to continue offering life-saving support and provide families and children with resources they need now.
How is Food for the Hungry (FH) responding to this global pandemic?
FH is actively monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthening promotion of health and hygiene practices in all areas of operation so communities can remain healthy and virus-free. Our ongoing community-level programming in Africa, Asia, and Latin America places our staff in a unique position to pivot quickly to best meet the needs of vulnerable communities that could be impacted by the coronavirus. FH programs also enable community leaders to quickly mobilize and respond to threats or hazards, such as disaster or disease. Read below to see specific ways FH is responding in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
FH is partnering with LifeNet International, an organization that provides quality sustainable healthcare in Africa. LifeNet’s ongoing partnerships with health clinics in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Uganda, and Malawi enables their staff to train health professionals in COVID-19 identification and treatment, provide personal protective equipment (PPE), and share easy-to-understand messages about preventing the spread of the virus.
In Mozambique, FH is working with UNICEF to provide life-saving support through several health and hygiene projects. Handwashing stations will be provided or constructed where needed. Communities will receive COVID-19 prevention training on handwashing, social distancing, and home-based isolation prevention measures. Staff will help rehabilitate community water supply systems. A new latrine will be built at a health center designated for quarantined COVID-19 patients. Additionally, food voucher distributions are being conducted and doubled in Sofala Province to ensure families who are still recovering from the impacts of Cyclone Idai are prepared for potential shortages.
In Bangladesh, FH is already working with the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, running four health clinics and training community health workers alongside our partner Medical Teams International. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have begun to work with Bangladesh’s Ministry of Health and UNHCR to ensure the provision of supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer as needed. In case of a potential outbreak, preparations are underway to accommodate for quarantine, the lab capacity to confirm cases, and house isolation units. In the meantime, the promotion of key health and hygiene practices are being shared by Rohingya community health workers in ways that combat stigma and do not incite fear.
In the Philippines, FH staff are distributing food baskets to support vulnerable families in communities we currently operate in. This distribution helps address food security needs during lockdown quarantine measures. Nearly 9,000 households will receive a food basket.
In Cambodia, FH staff are using cell phones to share COVID-19 prevention messages with Village Health Volunteers in vulnerable communities, who then disseminate this life-saving messaging with 900 families. Additionally, FH will be working closely with UNICEF and health centers to distribute hygiene kits.
In Peru, FH has successfully coached community leaders on requesting support from municipalities to provide free clean water, so families and children can practice life-saving hygiene behaviors. FH staff are also helping leaders develop lists of vulnerable families that may require extra assistance or distributions during this time, so that the government can be mindful of their needs.
In Bolivia, FH staff included COVID-19 materials provided by the Ministry of Health in cascade group lessons related to handwashing and acute respiratory infections.
In the Dominican Republic, FH staff are preparing COVID-19 training materials and providing hygiene kits to cascade group mother leaders and other vulnerable community members.
To help prevent COVID-19 in communities living in extreme poverty, you can give to FH’s to equip our staff to continue offering life-saving support. use the donate button below
How is FH’s health and hygiene programming in our fields preventing the new coronavirus?
A distinctive part of FH’s ongoing programmatic strategy in the areas of health and hygiene is providing access to resources, such as clean water and soap, and helping local leaders promote life-saving practices, such as handwashing in homes and schools. FH cultivates close relationships with leaders and heads of households, which allows us to act as a trusted source of information and advice.
Additionally, FH supports communities in gaining access to health care through clinics, medicine, and professional assistance where needed. FH has supported health programs for nearly 50 years, and our work has contributed to the prevention and response to diseases such as cholera, diphtheria, and others.
How is FH helping families who have lost their jobs or can’t work during this crisis?
COVID-19 prevention measures such as social distancing and quarantine lockdown have impacted the livelihoods of vulnerable families. As they are unable to leave their homes to go to work, many have lost their jobs. With no source of income, they are unable to afford basic necessities, such as food and water. To help alleviate the loss of income, FH is providing households with food vouchers and food basket distributions in some of our program areas.
How is FH staff sharing COVID-19 prevention messaging while maintaining a safe distance from partners and community members?
The safety of FH staff, partners, and communities is a priority. FH is adapting programming to ensure adherence of WHO and national government guidelines to reduce the spread of the virus. This includes leveraging already established community networks, such as cascade groups and community health workers, to help educate and inform families about COVID-19 and prevention measures. The use of technology such as cell phones is also being employed to share life-saving health and hygiene messages with community networks.
How is FH working with governments or ministries of health in their local responses to the global pandemic?
FH is actively leveraging our longstanding collaborative relationships with local governments and ministries of health to coordinate responses through sharing materials and resources around preventing COVID-19 and distributing critically needed medical supplies. For example, in northern Kenya, FH is working with the local government to procure personal protective equipment (PPE). Similarly, in Guatemala, FH has provided the Ministry of Public Health with urgent supplies such as face masks and gloves for use in rural areas.