In the first week of August our outreach team and director of Project Harar Ethiopia Amanuel Tafese travelled to the SNNPR region of Ethiopia to continue our Covid Response Programme.

 This particular part of the programme was supported by Manos Unidas with the primary intention of strengthening health institutions in the Gamo and Gofa zones of the SNNPR and preventing the spread of the Coronavirus into the community in line with the campaign recently announced by the Federal Ministry of Health, Ethiopia. The NGO Manos Unidas specialize in sensitization and supporting comprehensive development programs, plans and projects aimed at meeting these needs. Manos Unidas have previously supported Project Harar with a successful cleft lip and palate awareness programme in the Oromia region in 2015 and in the SNNPR in 2018 and 19. 

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Similar to our Covid Response Pilot Programme in June of this year, the project involved distributing water barrels and soap to families so they would have the extra facility to wash their hands in their own home. The Project Harar office in Ethiopia lead an initial workshop on Pandemic awareness creation to religious and political leaders, as well as local health extension workers. A comprehensive definition of the virus was given, outlining the ways it was being spread in Africa and its symptoms. information was presented and discussions facilitated between participants around stopping the spread of infection, focusing on improving behaviour change communication around actions such as washing hands with the new water barrels provided by Project Harar, not to touch the face (eyes, nose and mouth) with unwashed hands, using a face mask and maintaining physical distancing.

 At the time of the opening workshop in the Gamo Zone there were 23 cases of the coronavirus in the area, the Head of the Gamo Zonal Health office said he was surprised when the disease spread so quickly into their zone. He also stressed that people limit contact in the market, in church, mosque, and transport, he also urged the religious leaders to keep on educating others to implement preventive actions as much as possible. 

 Project Harar also provided leaflets and posters to local health clinics which contained more information about the virus and spread prevention with useful hand washing diagrams, Personal Protective Equipment such as masks, sanitizer, were also distributed to health facilities.