Since December of 2019, the novel corona virus, known to have started in Wuhan, China spread across several countries in a matter of weeks, signalling a possible worldwide outbreak. On 30th of January 2020, a Chinese national, was found positive of the NCOV, now known as COVID 19 – the first patient documented in the Philippines by the Department of Health (DOH). However, it was only last March 6, 2020 that the DOH confirmed that two locals were tested positive of COVID
To date, there are already 307 confirmed cases in the Philippines and almost every day, new cases were diagnosed. The World Health Organization already declared COVID 19 as a global pandemic and the health department recently raised the alarm to Code Red Sub Level 2. This prompted the Philippine Government to place the country under State of Public Health Emergency, and Luzon on a lockdown.
The alarming increase of confirmed cases in the country resulted to massive public panic, stemming from the lack of appropriate information and by the inadequate response by the government public health services. Most of the time, poor communities are the victims of misinformation and lack of knowledge about the virus.
With this COVID 19 outbreak, these communities are more vulnerable to the virus. The highly privatized and commercialized public health services in the country remained inaccessible to the poor Filipino families. Furthermore, their day-to-day sustenance remains their priority over self-protection, rendering them more at high risk to contract the virus.
In response to this problem, the TFCOS will spearhead a massive educational campaign and distribution of children’s hygiene kit packs to communities in Tondo, Manila; District 2 Quezon City; Marikina City, members of CRC Children’s Collective, and members of Salinlahi Youth, identified to be as areas with majority of low income population.
The Educational Campaign includes information dissemination on
1) What is COVID 19 (Novel Corona Virus Disease- 2019);
2) Observable symptoms of COVID 19 as differentiated from ordinary flu, allergies, etc.;
3) Precautionary measures to avoid COVID 19;
4) What to do if symptoms are observed and
5) What to do during the lockdown.
Fliers and pamphlets containing correct information about COVID 19 and how to avoid the virus will be distributed to the community. If possible, the Educational Campaign team will conduct a focused group discussion to the mothers of the community to educate them about the virus, while a children’s activity will be facilitated to raise awareness and educate the children in the community. There will also be a Mobile Communication and Advocacy team that will go around the community with the sole purpose of raising awareness to the community about COVID 19.
The children with the age ranging from 7 years old to 14 years old will be given children’s kit pack that includes (2 pcs) towel, (1 roll) tissue, (1 small bottle) alcohol, (1 small) hand sanitizer, (1 bottle) multi-vitamins, (5 pcs) washable masks.
The mothers will also be given multivitamins to boost their immune system as well. For the initial phase of implementation, at least 500 children and their mothers from each target communities will benefit from the project. The initial phase will have a total of 2,150 individual beneficiaries both children and mothers.
TFCOS will also coordinate with the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) to mobilize and equip the BHW and Council members about the algorithm of coordination if members of the community exhibits symptoms of COVID-19. The second phase targeting other areas will depend on the assessment and evaluation of the previously conducted activities.
The Task Force Children of the Storm (TFCOS) is a consortium of five child-focused organizations and institutions formed in 2009 during typhoon Ondoy’s to provide assistance to children and disaster-stricken communities. Since then, the Task Force initiated relief operations, medical missions and psychosocial intervention to provide assistance to thousands of children victims of disaster. In its last activity, TFCOS actively initiated relief missions and psychosocial support to children affected by Taal Volcano eruption last January 2020.