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The Gambia: Supporting the National COVID-19 Response through the development of communication material

Of course the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is no longer news anywhere in the world and The Gambia is no exception. For the first few months of its spread in various parts of the globe, the disease had not reached The Gambia and the hope was to maintain such status. Unfortunately, on 17 March 2020, The Gambian Minister of Health, Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, announced the first case of COVID-19 in The Gambia.

This announcement propelled panic, fear and a growing need from the public, to be fed with up-to-date and accurate information about the disease, while bursting myths and tackling rumours that further spread fake news.

With a weak health system and limited resources, The Gambia is faced with a responsibility to ensure all sectors of the population receive adequate information about COVID-19, in order to curb its spread.

Young people of Banjul demonstrating social distancing at the Banjul City Council grounds
Young people of Banjul demonstrating social distancing at the Banjul City Council grounds

Aware of this urgent need for information, UNFPA The Gambia as part of activities under the COVID-19 National Response Plan supported the Ministry of Health to produce communication material including posters, presented to Local Government Authorities and youth-led grassroots organisations for use in COVID-19 sensitisation activities. The posters produced in both English and Arabic contain information about preventive methods, symptoms and how to get help when needed.   

With the use of these material, the youth of Banjul carried out sensitisation efforts coordinated by the Banjul City Council, visiting homes, markets and other spaces to raise awareness and keep the public informed.

Young man putting up COVID-19 posters produced by UNFPA The Gambia at the Albert Market in Banjul
Young man putting up COVID-19 posters produced by UNFPA The Gambia at the Albert Market in Banjul

Similarly, the youth Sibito Village located in Kiang Central, Lower River Region of The Gambia, over 150kilometers for The Gambian capital city Banjul received some communication material from UNFPA to support the work they were already doing in their community. Young people of this community have taken it upon themselves to lead the Stop COVID-19 campaign.

Members of Sibito Jobe Kunda Youth Association putting up COVID-19 posters produced by UNFPA The Gambia in their community
Members of Sibito Jobe Kunda Youth Association putting up COVID-19 posters produced by UNFPA The Gambia in their community

The Country Office also produced short general awareness videos on how to protect oneself from the virus in English and 5 local languages. These videos are part of the resources the Ministry of Health has available on its website and other platforms and have been widely shared with various networks. The videos also feature sign-language interpretation, in order to ensure that the deaf and the hard of hearing are not left behind.  

It is important to remember that battling COVID-19 is an endeavour that requires the participation of all sections of society and that in spreading information, all communities including those furthest behind, must be reach. This is why we must at this point ask, have you done something to spread the word about COVID-19 today? You still have time now. Remember, we can beat this together!

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All the communication material produced by the Country Office are publicly available for downloading and further dissemination via this link: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/1SI2lXDvk1FXWLbU8ti_758mNiAWjRvEG.

 

Media contact:

Haddy Jonga

Programme Analyst - Communications, UNFPA The Gambia

jonga@unfpa.org