Step by step on our way back to normal… would that be something we may hope for as summer is about to arrive? At MADE BLUE, we continue working towards access to clean water and hygiene for all, today maybe even more important than ever before. Imagine not being able to fetch clean water and wash your hands… and then a virus comes knocking on your door…
How to prevent the virus from spreading if you don’t even have access to clean water and hygiene?
As it seems, Africa is not (yet) hit that hard by the Corona virus. But that may well be deceiving: sub-Sahara Africa lacks effective recording on how the virus is spreading. Reports of potentially hard-hit urban areas only occasionally make it to our news media, of course also because we are focussed on dealing with our own crisis in Europe.
In addition, in developing countries health systems in place are overall weak and only marginally equipped to step up in the fight against corona. ‘Flatten the curve’ therefore cannot really apply… and only be wished for.
Let’s hope for the virus not to peak in Africa at it did in Europe, and let’s continue to work towards access to clean water and hygiene for all!
Imposing a lockdown almost immediately leads to problems far worse than the issue being tried to solve. Areas where a curfew has been imposed see an increase in the number of cases where people can’t get to a health professional in time, for example mothers giving birth ‘outside office hours’.
In addition, in many developing countries most economic activity is conducted in the informal sector: people go out on the streets every day for making a living: a taxi ride, selling at a local market, providing services in town. For those a lock-down means a direct lack of income. With no means for governments to impose generous countermeasures, a lockdown causes immediate and even worse problems.
It doesn’t stop there. Affected areas are seeing a decline in the number of children, especially girls, going to schools. A new spike is expected in arranged child marriages and many fear practices such as female genital mutilation, long fought against by community health workers, will now find new ground as health systems remain weak and government is focussed on fighting this virus.
Positive side effects are also being reported: covid-19 makes people aware of the importance of hygiene and – where possible – they start washing hands more often. This also leads to a decrease in several other infectious diseases in these areas.
In a situation where nearly 800 million people on earth have to walk for kilometres every day for access to (often polluted) water, it is a challenge making basic hygiene facilities such as hand washing stations and toilets accessible to all.
Together with our partners in Asia and Africa, we continue to work on access to clean water and hygiene for all: we are starting a new project in Vietnam, we are scaling up in Tanzania and are working in Ethiopia towards preparing the next phase of the successful program in the slums of Addis Ababa, Adama and Awash: making WASH facilities available in neighbourhood schools.
We are being supported by over 350 companies having joined our mission: access to clean water and hygiene for all. Many of those companies operate in the hospitality sector, and got hit pretty hard themselves. Read more
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