Washing hands is a decisive measure in the fight against the corona virus. It is simple and uncomplicated to implement – provided that the water flows. In Niger, where access to clean water is still reserved for a minority, a virus can quickly lead to disaster. Translated with DeepL.
Measures for protection against the coronavirus will be integrated in water and hygiene projects. In various municipalities hand washing facilities (so-called «Tippy Tap) will be installed and made accessible. In addition, protective kits are made available and prevention and education about hygiene rules is provided.
Every third person in the southwest of Niger can only dream of clean drinking water. Only 15% of the population have access to sanitary facilities. 90% of the people live in poverty, 45% in absolute poverty. In addition to the high incidence of diarrhoea, which particularly affects children and the elderly, there is now a new risk of infection with Covid-19: “You can imagine the catastrophic consequences a highly contagious virus can have here in Niger,” says Adamou Moussa Abba, office manager in Niger.
Water and education
In order to prevent rapid spread, SWISSAID, in cooperation with local partners, has responded with emergency aid and integrated measures against the corona virus into the project work. In N’Gonga and Falwel, 289 so-called “Tippy Tap” have already been installed in 168 health posts: The hand washing facilities are operated by foot, so that the risk of infection at public hygiene points is minimised. In addition, protective kits with masks and disinfectants have been distributed and the population has been made aware of the dangerous virus through posters and radio messages in French, Haoussa, Zarma and Fulfuldé.
Solidarity makes us strong
Moumouni Salika, Mayor of the municipality of Koygolo in the Kollo department: “Thanks to the educational messages on the radio station, the population became aware of the existence of the disease and was able to adapt their behaviour. The children in particular stood out as a result of their commitment and ingenuity in the production of hand washing equipment. Schoolchildren became real ambassadors in the fight against the corona virus”
Works not only against the coronavirus
With all precautions: The situation in Niger regarding Covid-19 remains uncertain. “There is little testing and we expect a high number of unreported cases,” says Adamou Moussa Abba. “It is important that we continue to support and sensitise the population within the framework of our projects in order to prevent a catastrophe.” Integrated into ongoing water and hygiene projects, the measures – unsurprisingly – help not only against the corona virus. Halimatou Boureimas, a doctor from the municipality of Dantchandou in the department of Kollo, says:
“There is a decrease in diseases related to lack of hygiene, especially diarrhoea and abdominal pain”.