by Sara Gianesini, project manager “Integration of asylum seekers and Senegalese refugees”
Guinea-Bissau is also facing the COVID19 emergency in recent weeks. As of April 12, 2020, according to data provided by the COES-GB (Centro de Operações de Emergência em Saúde na Guine’-Bissau), 40 were positive, of which 37 were in treatment and 3 were cured. Since March 28, 2020, the Government has declared a State of Emergency and the population is trying, with difficulty, to respect the restrictions imposed.
In a country with a precarious and subsistence economy like the Guinean one, the biggest problem, in some time, will concern the lack of food. Most of the population lives on what they manage to sell on a daily basis but, with the restrictions of compulsory confinement, it will be difficult to continue with this activity and the food problem will also add to the problem of the pandemic contagion.
With the Project “Protection and Durable solution for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Guinea Bissau” (Integration of asylum seekers and Senegalese refugees) funded by UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) as Mani Tese we plan to support the villages that host refugees with deliveries of primary goods such as products and equipment for hygiene and food.
Mani Tese intervenes in the São Domingos area which borders Senegal, a country with which the land borders are closed and many, because of this, are already experiencing the negative impact on trade and the community economy: they cannot go in Senegal to sell their products and they cannot even receive the products they normally procure through informal trade in border villages.
Part of the Mani Tese staff who will deal with the distribution of goods and food, in these days has received training on Coronavirus prevention. The training was carried out thanks to the support of a Portuguese health NGO present in Guinea-Bissau and their collaborator, the nurse in charge of the health area in the São Domingos district.
Several topics on which the staff has been trained. Among these, the transmission methods and symptoms of the virus, prevention measures (such as proper hand washing, social distancing and good behavioral rules in order not to spread the infection), the correct use of gloves and mask.
Thanks to this training, our staff is now able to take the necessary preventive measures for personal protection and to carry out prevention and awareness activities by providing the necessary information to the villages to fight the spread of the virus within the communities.
Mani Tese staff in São Domingos is now ready to give a humanitarian response to the COVID19 emergency!