An awareness campaign titled #WeHugWithHeart as a measure to halt the spread of the virus in Albania

Anila Mirija
20 October 2020

Going back to school after the COVID lockdown, is without a doubt not an ordinary return. Many families are struggling daily with the new challenges posed by COVID-19, including unemployment, lack of access to handwashing facilities, as well issues with handwashing behaviors at home. Parents barely find enough time to spend at home with their children because we have to work and bring home a living.

As a response to the situation created, UNICEF Albania with the financial support from USAID, and the Ministry of Health and Social Protection are working to address the effects of COVID-19 on children and their families. Such partnership is formed at a time when Albania is experiencing increased numbers of COVID-19 cases and is striving to assure that families and children make new habits and practice preventive hygiene to minimize the spread of the virus.

Since in Albania, nearly 98 per cent of the population has a TV set at home, and for this reason, UNICEF and its partners were convinced that the best strategy was to use the power of media. Thus, an integrated communication campaign, which is focused mainly on traditional media (TV and Radio) and social media, was launched online with the participation of the Minister of Health and Social Protection, the US Ambassador, and other local partners.

The #SuperheroesWearMasks and #WeHugWithHeart campaign is targeting children, families and communities. Under this campaign, 180 Public Service Announcements are aired in main Public TV channels, including local TV, radio messages, 2000 flyers, 50 city lights and massive billboards have been disseminated and installed in many areas across the country. The campaign aims to reach approximately 1 million viewers, address issues of misinformation, and promote the recommended hygiene practices for every child.

Like many countries across the world, Albania is not just fighting a pandemic; is also fighting against "infodemic". Thanks to the rapid growth of technology and information dissemination through social media, information can now spread faster than the virus.

“We all play an important role in sharing trustworthy information to fight misinformation as much as we can. The launch of this awareness -raising campaign is helping to better understand what preventive measures one should take. It will properly inform children and their families and encourage them to adopt the right attitude in practicing safe behavior in combating COVID-19 transmission as well as to promote the wellbeing of children,” stated UNICEF Representative in Albania, Dr. Roberto De Bernardi.

UNICEF in Albania is working with health experts to promote facts over fear, providing trustworthy information to parents, caregivers and educators, to keep children healthy and thriving, while protecting them from sickness and violence. 

The awareness campaign “SuperheroesWearMask will serve as an opportunity to drive high-level advocacy with the Albanian authorities on the cost of sanitation services, which should be the most equitable and affordable for the most disadvantaged.