The overall objective of this operation is to contribute to the prevention and reduction of the immediate risks associated with the spread of COVID-19 in Benin by mobilizing the Benin Red Cross volunteer network. Benin recorded its first case of COVID-19 on March 16, 2020 in Cotonou. Since then, despite the state’s measures to halt the spread of the pandemic, new confirmed cases have been recorded. The vast majority of cases are concentrated in the southern and most populous part of the country. The government is aware of the gravity of this pandemic and of the importance of the WHO directives concerning containment and mass screening. However, the government lacks the means to implement all the WHO recommendations and relies on the responsibility of the populations to respect and abide by the government measures. Yet, despite awareness campaigns carried out by the government, compliance with the measures remains problematic because of language barriers, the lack of access to conventional media (TV and radio) and social networks. In addition, understanding and abiding to the measures is often very challenging for a population reliant on the informal sector to ensure their livelihoods.
Many challenges lie ahead in terms of epidemiological surveillance of the virus within the communities; stigma, non-compliance with the government measures, fear of the population, rumors, and disinformation. Gender may impact the way in which health messaging can be distributed and be taken up. This needs to be addressed with dissemination of health information of the authorities to the population and psychosocial support to the first responders, volunteers, and vulnerable groups. Communication at the community level must be reinforced, as well as community-based surveillance. And because of the existing teams for contact monitoring and psychosocial support of the Benin Red Cross, the government requested specific expertise in these areas.
The project is aimed at achieving the following results:
Result area 1: Community based surveillance systems vis-à-vis COVID-19 are strengthened by the Benin Red Cross
1) The population adopts preventive hygiene practices to control the rate of covid-19 infections and rumors are minimized
2) The community-based monitoring of the local health system is reinforced by volunteers of the Benin Red Cross
Result area 2: Benin Red Cross provides relevant response activities for those affected by COVID-19
1) Contaminated spaces identified are effectively disinfected
2) Benin Red Cross assists with safe burial practices
3) Benin Red Cross is ready to provide psychosocial support to people infected and affected by COVID-19
Result area 3: Reinforcement of the intervention capacity of Benin Red Cross in prevention and response to COVID-19
1) Appropriate measures are taken to protect staff and volunteers
2) Benin Red Cross has adequate human and material resources for operations management
3) The response is continuously monitored and evaluated
Benin Red Cross and Netherlands Red Cross