EAST AFRICA – Amref Health Africa, Unilever and the National Business Compact on Coronavirus (NBCC) with support from relevant partners have unveiled a refreshed behavior change initiative in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania following an increase in COVID-19 infections in the three countries.

The key stakeholders have partnered to introduce behavior change interventions targeting 75 million people in the three countries by April 2023 in response to the COVID-19 crisis particularly influencing the adoption of hygiene behaviors to help protect lives and livelihoods from the ongoing pandemic.

In addition, the observation of key hygiene practices including regular handwashing with soap, mask-wearing and social distancing has significantly reduced incidences of hospitalization for respiratory and hygiene-based diseases.

Large-scale hygiene behavior change project launched in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania will be activated through Amref-NBCC as part of the global Hygiene and Behavior Change Coalition 2 (HBCC 2) funded by Unilever and the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

To date, over 30 organizations have partnered with Amref-NBCC ranging from digital media agencies to social businesses, community organizations, retail companies, funding partners and other stakeholders in concerted efforts to promote hygiene and self-protective social behaviours.

The hands of health care workers (HCWs) play a critical role in keeping patients safe. If HCWs do not clean their hands at the right moments, using the proper methods, they can transmit infection-causing microorganisms through their hands from one patient to another.

The hygiene-based behavioral change initiative also aims at improving access to hygiene products and handwashing facilities by donating hand-washing equipment to 375 healthcare facilities as well as strengthen health systems through advocacy and the training of Community Health Workers and staff.

Additionally, the health project intends to create sustainable change while ensuring that knowledge, infrastructure and capacity is built into communities in the long term particularly reaching the most vulnerable populations including persons with disabilities, mothers, children and young people.

Amref-NBCC’s activations as part of HBCC 2 will incorporate a number of former and new partners to amplify and strengthen the partnerships with an ambitious goal to sustainably improve preventative hygiene practices.

According to Amref, HBCC 2 seeks to drive public awareness on COVID-19 prevention and long-term behavior change related to hygiene practices as well as promoting vaccinations among the targeted communities to improve the general health of populations.

Amref Health Africa Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr Gitahi Githinji revealed that the key messages driven during the previous project (HBCC 1) on masking up, handwashing and social distancing positively affected health metrics in the targeted communities.

The Amref Health Africa Group CEO explained that the key stakeholder initially partnered with an aim to slow down the rate of infections of the coronavirus, noting that the non-profit organization and partners were able to develop tools and identify new touch-points to prevent the rapid spread of COVID-19.

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