I have started to raise awareness of COVID-19 in my community, especially the most vulnerable community members. From 22nd -27th April 2020, I visited 7 IDP camps located in Burao district under Somaliland country in the last month of April 2020 where I was distributing food items to 7873 internally displaced people with different food commodities with support of my organization World Vision.

I sat with IDP camp leaders in all sites and explained the key prevention measures of COVID-19 including proper handwashing, coughing, and treatment. During my visit, I came across a situation where all IDPs are standing next to each other, without any masks and protections. They chew at night and meet in tea shops as usual. They have not realized the risk of this pandemic of the virus due to the same reasons; they live in a very rural place, they do not have access to social media and they believe traditional rumors. I used a few tips to pass my message to all IDPs. I met with the chairperson of each camp and narrated the death rate and confirmed cases in Somaliland and Somalia which reached more than 2000 cases and around over 3 million at the global level. I showed them pictures of dead bodies from Facebook pages in some countries. I said, “This virus is killing us and we need to wash our hands with soap and running water regularly” I distributed some poster with pictures because they were not literate. Finally, I convinced the IDP camp heads to tell their people that message in order to compact this virus. In addition, there is a limited capacity to handle testing in all regions of Somalia/Somaliland and it causes a lot of pressure in one or two testing machines in main towns.

On 4th June 2020, I successfully distributed personal protective equipment (PPE) for 7 health facilities and Burao General Hospital in the Togdheer region. This response is being implemented by World Vision with the support of the European Union. This equipment will protect the health workers on the front to combat the disease and also reduce its spread. I also witnessed that all workers in these clinics had no single mask or protective equipment and they were under risk.

Furthermore, I am leading a community mobilization initiative through Hargeisa radio station with the support of Yali Somali Alumni. It is a radio program on COVID19 awareness through the biggest. This program will host young doctors of alumni members to narrate the facts and history of the disease to reach the most vulnerable people in IDP camps who have access to radio. I personally as YALI Somali Alumni Chairperson, believe, this disease is an enemy for everyone in the world both poor and rich, let us fight and pull our efforts together to win over this disease.

Story by:
Mubarik Mohamoud – Chairperson
Yali Somali Alumni Chapter