Overcoming the barriers: COVID-19 prevention in Bangladesh


 “Now I have access and I can easily wash my hands to protect myself from Coronavirus.”


Sufia lives in Gaibandha district in Bangladesh, she is a 55 years old and happy to be able to access this handwashing device to protect her against COVID-19.


Since Sufia's husband passed away, she has been living with her two sons and their families. They have been a great support to her since she suffered a stroke and paralysis and gradually lost her balance and strength, she now needs help going to the toilet and maintaining her personal hygiene.


Sufia and her family have all been impacted by COVID-19. Sufia has had to stop her education classes and her sons labouring work has slowly dried up, which has gradually reduced their household income, making it harder to afford the basic necessities, such as soap.


They knew the importance of handwashing in preventing the spread of COVID-19, but were having trouble putting that into practice, particularly with their water tube located quite a distance from their home.


With the help of a local Self Help Group (SHG), Sufia's challenges were brought to the attention of World Vision Bangladesh and she was provided with this handwashing device along with some useful materials on COVID-19 prevention. SHG leaders also demonstrated to Sufia how to wash her hands properly with soap using the device, and she was able to relay this to her family too.


This initiative forms part of World Vision Bangladesh's COVID-19 response, with support from the Australian Government through Water for Women.


A COVID-19 response is a WASH response.


At the onset of the pandemic, World Vision moved quickly to support their project communities by distributing hygiene kits which included soap and hand sanitiser to 2,400 vulnerable households including people with disabilities, transgender, ethnic minorities and the poor in Jamalpur, Gaibandha, and Sathkhira districts. They also supported partners to relay personal hygiene kits and disseminate targeted messaging through loudspeakers to cover hard to reach areas to an estimated 126,000 people in three districts. The World Vision team developed messaging in Bengali in line with WHO and Government of Bangladesh approved messaging and are continuing to work with local partners on COVID-19 preparedness, response and recovery.


Thanks to these efforts, Sufia now has this handwashing device installed at an accessible location close to her home so that she and her family are able to wash their hands properly and frequently. She is grateful to be able to maintain her hand hygiene as she realises the vital role it plays disease prevention, hand hygiene is a 'solved problem'. 

Through Partnerships for Recovery, Australia is supporting COVID-19 work across South Asia to secure our region’s health, wellbeing and stability in these challenging times. Through Water for Women, not only are we delivering safe, equitable and sustainable Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), we are also building, healthy, inclusive and resilient societies.

Photo: Tanoy Kumar Sarker, Disability Inclusion Facilitator, SHOMOTA (CDD / World Vision Bangladesh) 

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