Field update: Supporting health authorities in Ambanja

Across the world, Blue Ventures has been mobilising to face the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis amongst the coastal communities that we work with. Whilst some of our team have been repatriated or are having to work from home, many of our field staff are still able to access field sites and provide vital support to the isolated communities with whom we work. 

The main objectives of our field teams are: to reduce community transmission of the virus; to protect the most vulnerable people; to strengthen healthcare systems and support continued delivery of essential services; and to adapt existing livelihood programmes to ensure that communities can sustain channels of income. More information on our response can be found here.

Across remote areas of Madagascar, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a need for vital materials to help prevent the spread of the virus amongst communities. In some districts, health authorities have requested that organisations working in the area help to supply, offer and distribute these materials to local public health services. In Ambanja, Blue Ventures’ field teams were already rapidly responding to the crisis and last month, began proactively supporting the Medical Inspector in the district.

In April, the Medical Inspector in Ambanja requested that 20 hand washing stations (also known as ‘tippy taps’) and stocks of soaps, along with torch lights – for the COVID-19 health barrier team who work night and day to patrol the movement of vehicles in and out of the district – be distributed amongst the most vulnerable communities in Ambanja. Blue Ventures’ community health staff helped with delivering these materials at the community level. 

Our staff also helped with broadcasting COVID-19 awareness messages in the villages via modern ‘Tam Tam’ – driving through the district in a truck with two loudspeakers attached, sharing live and recorded messages on how to stay safe during the pandemic.

Throughout the country, local vigilance committees known as ‘Komity Loharano’ are mobilising to raise community awareness of the virus, share approved public health messages, distribute essential preventative supplies and monitor the situation in their villages. They include community health workers, village leaders and natural resource management committee members all working together. With Blue Ventures’ support, villages around Ambanja were among the first to take action in response to the current pandemic.

Following the hard work of our field teams in Ambanja, the Medical Inspector reported that other organisations working in the district were inspired by the impact of Blue Ventures work, and have now begun to replicate the response elsewhere in the region.

BV Ambanja team member, Bienvenue Zafindrasilivonona (right) and the Medical Inspector for Ambanja, Manjary Paulin Ramasay (left), organising soap and hand washing stations during the outreach mission

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