COVID-19 in Africa: The Nuances of Social Distancing and Handwashing

The increasing spread of COVID-19 has necessitated enforcement of frequent hand washing, social distancing and lockdown measures as a recommended global strategy to curb community-based spread of the disease. However, pre-existing conditions in Africa impede capacity to observe hand hygiene, social distancing and lockdown.

Compliance with social distancing and handwashing is challenging in Africa due to poor urban planning in densely populated communities, food insecurity, water shortages, inadequate healthcare infrastructure, unemployment and lack of funding. The aim of this article is to unveil current challenges with social distancing and handwashing in Africa and propose innovative solutions to prevent community-based COVID-19 transmission.

Source: COVID-19 in Africa: The Nuances of Social Distancing and Handwashing

    Child-Friendly Animation Video on Hand Washing

    This animated video, produced by Save The Children Nepal, shows best practices for hand washing in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. The video demonstrates several steps and hand motions to perform in order to both thoroughly wash your hands and with sufficient time to kill almost all viruses and bacteria.

    Source: Child-Friendly Animation Video on Hand Washing

    • Ayush Joshi
    • ayushjoshi4@gmail.com

    Hygiene & Handwashing (2020) – Ireland Department of Health

    This simple video helps audiences learn about hand hygiene and preventing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

    Source: Hygiene & Handwashing (2020) – Ireland Department of Health

      Handwashing Promotion – (2008, Spanish)

      This “Bubbles of Love” campaign promotion in Peru was produced as part of the Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing and used to educate children on the importance of using soap for handwashing.

        Hand Washing How-To

        How to thoroughly wash your hands to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

        Source: Hand Washing How-To

        COVID-19: Keeping Young People Healthy

        This page offers practical guides for adolescents and young people, parents and caregivers, healthcare providers and implementing partners to keep young people healthy during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

        Source: COVID-19: Keeping Young People Healthy

          Breakthrough ACTION Ethiopia COVID-19 Campaign

          Due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) had prioritized  Ethiopia, among 13 African countries, as the most vulnerable countries for importation of COVID-19. A recent Lancet publication reiterated this by describing Ethiopia as a highly vulnerable country with substantially larger population potential exposed yet with moderate capacity to contain the spread of the infection.

          Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) is an essential component of health emergency readiness and response activities. The Ethiopia Public Health Institute (EPHI) has been proactively working on emergency readiness and response activities on COVID-19 since late January 2020. The Emergency Operation Center (EOC), housed in EPHI and usually activated during public health emergencies in the country, started its work by establishing a technical working group (TWG) on RCCE comprised of different stakeholders and health development partners.

          Breakthrough ACTION Ethiopia is working closely with EPHI on COVID-19. To date, efforts have included technical assistance, training, tool development, and risk communication materials design, and logistical support to EPHI. The scope also includes focused support to the RCCE TWG, coordination on preparedness and response activities among several implementing partners, and training for Ethiopian Airlines flight and ground crew, as well as urban health extension workers and religious leaders.

          Thus far, the project has produced the following materials:

          • PSAs for  Amhara, Central, Oromia, SNNPR and Tigray:
            • Prevention methods
            • Misconceptions
            • Avoiding panic
            • Social distancing
            • Stigma

          Source (Amharic – Amhara, Central):

          Source (Oromo):

          Source (Amharic – SNNPR):

          Source: (Tigrigna):

          • Print materials for Amhara, Central, Oromia, SNNPR and Tigray:
            • Brochures and posters for general population
            • Brochures for hotel staff
            • Posters for travelers (bus and train stations)
            • Stickers for inside buses and trains
            • Proper hand-washing stickers for washrooms
            • Hand-washing reminders

          Source (Amhara): Ethiopia COVID 19 Posters – Amhara

          Source (Central): Ethiopia COVID 19 Posters – Central

          Source (Oromia): Ethiopia COVID 19 Posters – Oromia

          Source (SNNPR): Ethiopia COVID 19 Posters – SNNPR

          Source (Tigray): Ethiopia COVID 19 Posters – Tigray

          Videos in American Sign Language

          This video, developed by the Centers for Disease Control, includes COVID-19 information in American Sign Language related to physical distancing, hand washing, and how to make a mask.

          Source: Videos in American Sign Language