Urgent need to stop the coronavirus from spreading in refugee camps – FCA introduces measures in several countries

A teacher and students holding their hands up in a class room in Uganda.
Schools in refugee settlements in Uganda are packed. It is essential to improve hygiene conditions in schools to prevent the Covid-19 virus from spreading. Photo: Patrick Meinhardt

Finn Church Aid (FCA) prepares to deliver hygiene products and awareness campaigns to prevent the coronavirus from spreading within refugee camps and settlements.

People living in refugee camps and settlements are already in a vulnerable position and suffer from a lack of hygiene products and health care facilities. A spread of the coronavirus could have devastating consequences.

FCA works as the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR’s partner in the education sector and arranges education for 120,000 learners in Uganda’s refugee settlements.

“Schools are full and there are a lot of learners. It is now essential to improve hygiene conditions”, says FCA’s Country Director for Uganda, Wycliffe Nsheka.

“We arrange hygiene training for learners, teachers and health committees at the settlements. We increase the availability of hand washing facilities, sanitisers and other products for disinfection. We also print information brochures in different languages and disseminate the same information on the radio.”

Kenya closed down its schools on Monday March 16th. FCA supported schools and pre-schools are also closed. FCA now prepares an information campaign on the importance of washing hands.

The campaign will run on the radio, targeting children and their parents while schools remain closed, says FCA’s Country Director for Kenya, John Bongei. FCA plans to distribute hand sanitisers, soap and buckets also to the children’s parents.

“We will also share information from the Kenyan government on lectures held on radio. We are scouting service providers to support long distance learning, in case the schools remain closed for a longer period”, Bongei says.

FCA’s country programme in Somalia also takes measures to improve hygiene conditions in schools.