KIREHE, RWANDA — In the fight to contain COVID-19, UNICEF supports local health advocates such as Odette Mpungirehe in Kirehe, Rwanda, in their efforts to communicate the virus’ risks, engage with communities and promote health in their region. Odette and her team at the Kirehe command post, with the financial support of UNICEF and others, work as part of Rwanda’s national health implementation agency to “support effective coordination and reporting of Communication for Development interventions related to COVID-19 preparedness and response,” according to UNICEF.
The Kirehe command post began operations just a few short months after COVID-19 prevention measures began in early March 2020. By August, risk communication activities had already reached more than 350,000 people. These activities include instructing youth volunteers on how to help prevent the virus’ spread by encouraging handwashing, physical distancing and other precautionary measures as well as broadcasting pre-recorded messages through loudspeakers from the backs of pick-up trucks.
Odette firmly believes in a consolidated effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. The UNICEF task force is working hard to do what they can to keep COVID-19 cases to a minimum.
“In my work, I have found that risk communication and community engagement is not the responsibility of just one institution or organization,” said Odette. “It is rather a shared responsibility, where different partners and the community combine efforts and coordinate to help people protect themselves, their relatives and their neighbors against COVID-19 and other diseases. Together, I am sure we can overcome COVID-19.”
UNICEF’s backing of this task force in Rwanda, and other similar efforts, are part of the organization’s commitment to children and their ongoing efforts to support child health and nutrition—safeguarding their lives and futures—among the world’s most disadvantaged.