Right message must be delivered to people at the right time to protect them from Covid-19 infections, and to this end, around 42 non-government organisations will carry out a massive awareness programme for marginalised communities in 35 districts across the country.
NGOs will also provide facemasks and medical assistance to these communities for free, said CSO Alliance – which includes Brac and Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) – at the virtual inauguration ceremony for the initiative titled "Social Fortress to Prevent Corona" on Tuesday.
Addressing the event, MJF's Executive Director Shaheen Anam said, "Everyone must adapt to the new behavior of wearing facemasks right now to curb the spread of Covid-19. We should be aware and thoughtful enough to avert a disaster before it strikes the country.
"Carrying out an awareness programme against Covid-19 among the marginalised communities and helping them adapt to facemasks has now become a social responsibility for all. I am urging the CSO Alliance members to make a serious effort to create awareness among the people."
Brac's Director of Health, Nutrition and Population Programme (HNPP) Dr Morseda Chowdhury said, "Under this programme, members of the alliance will provide around 1.3 crore facemasks among the marginalised communities in 35 districts.
"We will seek support from local public representatives and influential people to make these communities wear facemasks whenever they leave their homes. Furthermore, the alliance will help these people get registered for the Covid-19 vaccine, and get them the doses on time."
NGOs will also track down suspected Covid-19 patients and help them get tested. If anyone tests negative but shows the symptoms, health workers and NGO personnel will ensure their proper treatment, she added.
Brac's Executive Director Asif Saleh said, "Though we are currently providing 1.3 crore facemasks in 35 districts, the programme's scope will go up in the coming days.
"We are focusing on getting people to wear facemasks, as it is a crucial step to tackle the Covid situation. The use of facemasks needs to be scaled up among the people. To make this target a reality, people from the marginalised communities must get involved in the process."