MAP’s partner uses social media to help prevent spread of COVID-19 in Gaza

Across the occupied Palestinian territory, individuals and organisations are doing their bit to help stop the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). One such group is Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)’s partner in Gaza, the Social Developmental Forum (SDF), who have launched an online campaign to raise awareness of COVID-19 and of preventative measures needed to help prevent transmission and keep people safe.

Adopting the hashtag #WeFightCoronavirus (in Arabic) which is already followed by 18,000 people, the campaign provides Palestinians with updates and daily tips from the World Health Organization and Ministry of Health on health and hygiene practices at home and work to reduce  the spread of the disease in Gaza. On Facebook, interviews with health specialists are being shared to raise awareness of the pandemic and answer commonly asked questions, as well as giving advice on how to maintain a safe work environment. The campaign uses videos and infographics to encourage people to act responsibly and follow public guidelines.

The importance of such work was affirmed this week as the number of confirmed cases in Gaza steadily rises. UN Special Rapporteur for the Situation of Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, Michael Lynk, has raised the alarm on the potentially devastating impact COVID-19 could have in Gaza . He explained that much of Gaza’s population is vulnerable, with malnutrition on the rise, poorly controlled non-communicable diseases, dense living and housing conditions and an elderly population without access to proper nursing care along with high smoking rates.

MAP CEO, Aimee Shalan, has underlined these fears: “The potential impact of Covid-19 for Palestinian health systems already massively compromised by lack of infrastructure, essential equipment, drugs, supplies and human resources is quite simply catastrophic. The threat of this new virus is dangerously increased for Palestinians by their living conditions, particularly in the refugee camps, where there is severe overcrowding, few hygiene facilities and extremely limited opportunity to effectively self-isolate.”

The campaign falls under SDF’s social work to help promote good public health in Gaza. SDF is led by youth activists, who work to empower Palestinian society to bring about change. MAP has been working with SDF the past year, supporting local digital advocacy to promote the rights of people with disabilities.

To read about MAP’s COVID-19 emergency response, click here.

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