UNICEF provides vital support to save lives amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

Children and their families across The Gambia have been receiving vital support from UNICEF during the COVID-19 outbreak

Abdoulie Sey
A lady washes her hands with soap and water
29 April 2020

UNICEF is partnering with the Gambia Government to provide much-needed support to children, their families and communities across The Gambia with vital supplies and services during the COVID-19 outbreak. Since the outbreak began, UNICEF has been mobilizing resources to support The Gambia’s response to the COVID-19 and help people keep safe from Coronavirus. Inline with UNICEF The Gambia COVID-19 response priorities, 150 handwashing stations have been provided to be installed in strategic locations such as health facilities, transport hubs, institutions and communities.

“Our principal focus is to save lives,” Sandra Lattouf, UNICEF The Gambia Country Representative said. “And if handwashing has proven effective in saving people from contracting Coronavirus, then we will support them to have access to handwashing facilities to remain safe from the virus”.

Since the outbreak began, UNICEF has been providing strategic support through our COVID-19 response priorities: Keep children and their families healthy; reach vulnerable children with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); keep children learning; support families to cover their needs and care for their children; protect children from violence, exploitation and abuse.

“Our response to the COVID-19 is guided by The Gambia’s COVID-19 national preparedness and response plan and our desire to see every child and their family safe in this difficult period”, said Sandra, who is leading the UN risk communication and community engagement efforts and also sitting on the national COVID-19 Health Emergency Committee. “We have a duty to ensure that the right information and essential services reach people, wherever they are. At UNICEF, we work closely with other UN agencies to fulfill this responsibility in everything we do, everyday”.

So far, several handwashing stations and sanitation materials have been distributed. The first to receive these materials were the Juvenile Wing of the Gambia Prisons. Two handwashing stations and packs of sanitary materials were handed over to prisons officials by the Ministry of Health.

Health and Prisons offcials pose for a picture

“This is a donation from UNICEF and their concern is to ensure that children at the Juvenile Wing are protected and also practice good hygiene measures”, Lamin Fadera, programme manager, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Unit at the Ministry of Health told prison officials. “It is important we come together to fight this menace. Together, I believe we will be able to do it”.

UNICEF is reaching out to children and their families in communities and institutions across The Gambia with one message: take action to protect yourself and others around you.  Aware that for some people access to handwashing facilities or even clean water is a challenge, UNICEF is mobilizing efforts and resources to support communities with essential services and supplies and encouraging them to use easy-to-build and more sustainable handwashing facilities like the Tippy tap.