Brac has taken up an initiative to support people living in some 38 high-risk districts across Bangladesh.
The development organisation along with partner NGOs are set to implement the plan through a community-driven Covid response and local-level health system strengthening initiative.
The decision was reached at an emergency meeting with the recently formed platform Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Alliance on Thursday.
The meeting decided that NGOs will collaboratively work across Bangladesh under an initiative styled 'Community resilience to prevent coronavirus' (করোনা প্রতিরোধে সামাজিক দূর্গ).
Under this initiative, the NGOs will work to spread information on coronavirus prevention, proper use of masks and vaccine registration along with spreading awareness messages and addressing misinformation to around 58 million people living in the 38 high-risk districts.
The initiative will have three key pillars of interventions: prevention, response to Covid case management, and promoting vaccination.
Under the first pillar which is 'Prevention,' Brac and partners will ensure the usage of mask, hand hygiene and social distancing through household education. Community groups will be engaged in awareness activities and rapid response.
Under 'Response,' Brac's proven Community Support Team (CST+) model led by frontline community health workers will be scaled for syndromic surveillance at the household level. These community-based teams will identify suspected Covid-19 cases by visiting households with potential cases (identified via word-of-mouth approach) to conduct screening. Individuals matching with sets of clinical criteria will be connected to the telemedicine services for further support.
Under the last pillar 'Vaccination,' Brac and partners will support the local government health office for Covid-19 vaccination registration and mobilisation. Brac's 50,000 community health workers and volunteers will actively engage in addressing myths and rumours creating vaccine hesitancy at the community level.
About the initiative, Brac's Executive Director Asif Saleh said, "The fight against coronavirus prevention requires long-term initiative. It is not possible to win the fight without participation from communities. We are mobilising internal resources to initiate the programme and calling on donors and partners to come forward to scale it up."
"This low-cost model will lead to long term benefits if it can get proper financing, and will also speed up the government's coronavirus prevention efforts," Saleh added.
Brac in partnership with The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the Government of UK and under a joint initiative with the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and Community Clinic Trust has piloted a community-driven Covid response and health system strengthening initiative in six districts over the past five months.
Based on the success of the pilot, Brac will scale this initiative across the 38 high-risk districts identified by the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR). Brac will work together with partner organisations on the ground to slow down the spread of Covid-19, help flatten the curve and preserve health system capacity in these high-risk districts.
The high-risk districts with case positivity rate above 10% are Dhaka, Chottogram, Rangamati Sylhet, Moulvibazar, Munshiganj, Narsingdi, Khulna, Narayanganj, Rajbari, Feni, Noakhali, Chandpur, Shariatpur, Laxmipur, Cumilla, Barisal, Rajshahi, Bogura, Narail, Nilphamari, Gazipur, Faridpur, Brahmanbaria, Jessore, Madaripur, Naogaon, Rangpur, Kishoreganj, Natore, Tangail, Pirojpur, Patuakhali, Bhola, Manikganj, Gaibandha, Dinajpur, and Mymensingh.
Thursday's emergency meeting with the CSO alliance was chaired by Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Alliance coordinator and advisor to former caretaker government Rasheda K Chowdhury.
PRIP Trust executive director Aroma Dutta, Ahsania Mission ED Dr M Ehsanur Rahman, Hasin Jahan, Sultana Kamal, Maleka Banu, RDRS chairperson Shib Narayan Kairy and WaterAid regional director Khairul Islam also attended the meeting.