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HPSS support to COVID-19 response in Tanzania

The Government of Tanzania (GoT) coordinates its COVID-19 preparedness and response plan through a multi-sectoral national task force. SDC supports these efforts through the HPSS project engaging in the Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) pillar of the Emergency Preparedness Task Force of the GoT. The HPSS project is providing technical support in building up a national call centre that will provide accurate and timely information on the COVID-19 to the Tanzanians. For rendering this support in both mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar, the HPSS project has reallocated up to CHF 200’000.

Since the beginning of March the Health Promotion and System Strengthening Project (HPSS) funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has been engaged in supporting the Government of Tanzania in its COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan. The first COVID-19 infection case was reported in Tanzania on 17th March 2020 and, like in other countries worldwide, infections are spreading, with so far 49 confirmed cases (14th April 2020, Johns Hopkins University). The project is in constant contact with the responsible decision makers at the MoHCDGEC and PORALG and participates in the national task force and its subcommittees, which coordinate the Corona virus disease response between GoT and Development Partners.

HPSS has reallocated an amount of up to CHF 200’000 to support the GoT in the COVID -19 response. The project is actively engaged in the Risk Communication and Community Engagement Pillar of the Emergency Response Plan by providing the following support:

  1. The HPSS project together with other partners including UNICEF, IMMA Health and UNFPA are working on enhancing capacity of the current hotline and elevating it to a national call centre for the COVID-19 with additional human resources, working tools and technology to ensure that it is functioning properly and contributes to information to communities and health authorities. This is a formidable challenge as in recent days more than 250’000 calls have been directed to the national COVID-19 response hotline which has very limited capacity to attend to the incoming calls.
  2. Awareness raising of the transmission of the disease and knowledge on prevention and timely treatment seeking among health workers and communities including the most vulnerable in both mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar. To this effect the project printed 100’000 posters with different information on prevention, signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and it also arranged for the logistical distribution of the information material country-wide. HPSS also supported the airing of radio spots produced by the GoT and their broadcasting in both national and on local community radio stations.
  3. The HPSS project also endeavours to help out the GoT with any transport needs that will be related to COVID-19 activities through the use of its project vehicles for central level activities and at the 8 HPSS zonal offices.

With these contributions to the national COVID-19 response the HPSS project is working with key national stakeholders to respond to the current health crisis in Tanzania and hopes to strengthen future epidemic resilience in the country.