Funded by the IMVF project and National Youth Council, the campaign will cover 36 villages along the borderline of the region.
The region’s youth chairperson, Saikou Darboe said the objective of the campaign is to refresh the minds of people on the issues and preventative measures of COVID-19.
“Our focus is on the borderline communities because we still have intruders and our young people and borderline communities are very vulnerable when it comes to contracting the virus,” he said.
He said the campaign team will visit and distribute 35 hand washing basins with detergents to 36 communities and collect data to know the number of people and households leaving in the area and some of their challenges.
“This will help us to gather correct data that we can provide to the authorities for further decision-making purposes,” he explained.
Landing B. Sanneh, chairperson of Mansakonko Area Council said COVID-19 goes beyond health, saying it is multifaceted and touches on a lot of areas apart from the health sector.
“We all know how much impact COVID-19 has on our lives in general, from socio-economic to cultural and political aspects. These are all affected. As we go out to give information we must convince people to feel part of the issues of COVID-19,” he said.
He added: “We must not confine ourselves to issues relating to only health but we must be able to make them understand that apart from health, COVID-19 can affect their lives, so they will not feel relaxed to contribute to the fight against the virus.”
According to him, if people relate COVID-19 to their lives and its impact on their social, economic, cultural, and political lives in one way or the other, they will feel affected even though they may not be infected and will encourage them to join the fight.
“The information must be devised and must be simple as possible and we must understand our target level of understanding so that we can transmit the relevant information we want to give to them,” he advised.
Chairperson Sanneh said they (authorities) in the region appreciate and recognise the move and gesture of young people. He said this goes to show how much responsible leadership is especially when it comes to youth.
“There are lot of misconceptions about youth that they are lazy and not ready to work and take up responsibility in term of the development of their country and communities. But this action shows how responsible our youth are particularly the regional youth structures and ministry of youth and sports,” he said.
“As the young people of the country, it is beyond only talking. We have to commit ourselves to actions, we have long been talking and it’s now time to come up with initiatives like this, keep on doing it more and more,” he challenged the young people.
He assured them of his office’s and local authorities' support at all time. “As local government authorities, we will stand by you and support you as much as possible for you to deliver most especially working with the communities,” he said.
Gibril Sanneh, representative of LRR regional health directorate said COVID-19 is a health problem that the ministry of health alone cannot handle. He said it is a global problem that needs a global solution.
He added that the ministry is doing all it can to control the spread of the virus, saying currently the country majority of who the COVID-19 patients in the country have recovered.
“COVID-19 is a problem for everyone. This is why it needs everyone’s effort to curb the transmission. Hand washing is one of the key actions that can stop the spread of the virus and prevent people from contracting it,” he said.
He added that LRR is yet to register any COVID-19 case, even though they have some suspected cases before but they were all tested negative of the virus. “We are still virus-free. This is why a lot more needs to be done to maintain the momentum.”
Alagie Jatta, representative of the region’s Governor, commended IMVF for the support, saying the materials are the first aid for the fight against COVID-19 and without that it will be difficult to win the fight against it.
Momodou B.K. Ceesay of National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), said COVID-19 is beyond the capacity of one institution and therefore requires all hands to be on deck to fight the virus.
“Yes, we have the medical part that the Ministry of Health is responsible, but we also have the social part that has to do with the society the way we interact and do things. There is a lot of energy that is invested in the social aspect of the fight against the virus.”
He said going to the boarder villages to sensitize people on the dangers of COVID-19 and it preventative measure is very vital to the fight against the virus, knowing very well how vulnerable the border villages are.
He challenged partners to put their hands on the desk and encourage others to come and support, saying LRR is vulnerable not because of its porous borders but has an international corridor; trans-Gambia corridor that has the potential for fast COVID-19 contraction.