Promoting safe water and good hygiene to combat COVID-19 in Madagascar
ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar - Since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis in Madagascar, UNICEF has reached 1,600,000 people with critical WASH supplies while providing almost 800,000 people with access to safe water. A further four million people were reached with COVID-19 risk communication and community engagement (RCCE).
Throughout the crisis, WASH actors have accelerated their response in all 22 regions of the country, with UNICEF playing a key role in coordination, delivering 80% of the WASH response and mobilizing 50% of the available funds. The national WASH cluster was activated in Madagascar at the onset of the pandemic, with 22 sub-clusters put in place. UNICEF is co-leading the WASH cluster in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Sanitation and our 60 partners. To date, the WASH cluster has mobilized around US$10 million of which 50% has been mobilized by UNICEF.
UNICEF’s response prioritized the main cities in Madagascar affected by the virus to improve access to safe water, while promoting proper hygiene practices, such as handwashing. A campaign was launched to provide the most vulnerable in particular with access safe water through a system of subsidies.
This campaign was also an opportunity to initiate a dialogue with the relevant authorities on the cost of water services. In addition to water, 200,000 of the most vulnerable people were provided with hygiene products, such as soap, for three months. More than 21,000 flyers on Covid-19 prevention and disinfectant gel were provided to taxis and public buses to support the promotion of hand washing and the wearing of masks.
“Access to safe water is a right that UNICEF has helped to strengthen its available by working with relevant authorities to make the price of water in urban areas more affordable,” said Brigitte Pedro, chief of water and sanitation with UNICEF Madagascar. “By subsidizing the price of water, we have reduced the cost of a 20 liter container, bringing safe and affordable water to vulnerable families the countries five worst hit cities.”
UNICEF’s work in this program has been generously supported by: KOICA, UKAID, DANIDA, the Norwegian Government, and the French Committee for UNICEF.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.