THE fight against the dreaded coronavirus disease (Covid-19) did not rest even over the Holiday season in Iloilo City.
To assist the urban city and its populace, the Iloilo Caucus of Development NGOs (Iloilo Code-NGOs), led by partner organizations, with its sub-grant project from ReachHealth-USAid, distributed and set up 14 handwashing stations in identified sites.
These included two Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities (TTMFs) for Covid-19, four major markets and eight priority pilot barangays.
The turnover of a handwashing facility was facilitated during three-and-a-half-month community-based technical assistance project.
TTMFs included La Paz Maternity Clinic and Jubilee Hall swabbing center.
The public markets are Iloilo Terminal Market, Mandurriao Market, La Paz Market and Arevalo Market.
Barangays included five hotspot areas of San Juan, Calumpang, Boulevard, Bolilao and Bo. Obrero; and other villages of Katilingban, Baldoza and Nabitasan.
The donation consisted of water tank set in a metal stand with built-in sink, foot pedal-operated fittings and provision for a handwashing liquid soap.
The handwashing station is foot operated to prevent hand contact and with a water supply with water discharge connection. The purpose is to provide accessible public handwashing area to a range of public places to help reduce transmission of the virus.
Beneficiary communities are enthusiastic and grateful for the project assistance.
"We are grateful to be among those selected for this assistance for we continue to implement health protocols," said Maricel Mabaquiao, market supervisor of all public markets in the city.
Mabaquiao added that "this is the first handwashing station for the public market since the lockdown and it will be useful against the spread of the virus in the area. It will also minimize the use of alcohol for hand disinfection for those who have limited budget."
As one of the project provisions, it is part of the technical assistance to community-based Covid-19 response using various capacity building interventions.
The effort was implemented by Iloilo Code-NGOs together with City Government with Mayor Jerry Treñas on the lead, partners from the City Health Office and concerned district health centers, City-DILG, CDRRMO, CSWD and barangay officials.
The short-term project reinforced the efforts of DOH-Western Visayas and City Government against Covid-19.
According to Boyet Areño, executive director of Iloilo Code-NGOs, "the project was designed to provide various capacity building activities to hotspot communities and the handwashing stations play a crucial role in the fight against Covid-19."
"It highlights the importance of handwashing together with physical distancing and wearing of a face mask and a face shield at barangay level at all times," he added.
The other community based technical assistance interventions under the ICode sub-grant project by ReachHealth-USAid include:
* Training of BHERTs on Infection Prevention and Control as well as Risk Communication and Community Engagement;
* Training of contact tracers on IPC; educational sessions for women and girls on gender-based violence, mental health and adolescent health in partnership with the CSWD;
* Facilitating Barangay CODE Microplanning workshops together with Iloilo-based ReachHealth staff for the five hotspot barangays;
* Provision of 4-in-1 No Touch Garbage Bins for 14 TTMFs/CIUs, distribution of Covid-19 flyers and posting of informative tarpaulins on strategic areas of 26 pilot barangays, and monitoring of barangay activities, including the barangay Code implementation in five hotspot areas and joint mobilization of BHERTs and CTs, in 26 pilot sites on their community led Covid-19 response activities.
"The fight against Covid-19 is far from over. Observance of health protocols like washing of hands is a vital lifesaving measure," said Ma. Joni D. Dichosa, PhD-IDM, technical consultant of the ReachHealth USAid-funded project.
"We are hoping that our community partners who are the beneficiaries will ensure that the handwashing facility is properly managed to remain useful to the public. This is for our protection against the virus and for the collective and common good of everyone," added Dichosa. (PR)