Last update: 2023-06-07
Transmission: Droplets, aerosols and direct contact
- When infected people cough, sneeze, blow their nose, or spit they spread small droplets through the air, which are then breathed in by other people
- Direct contact (for example, through kissing, sharing cups or eating utensils) with infected saliva or nose mucous
Most vulnerable to severe consequences
- People with chronic lung conditions (for example, asthma)
- People with weakened immune systems and/or chronic diseases (for example, diabetes or cancer)
- Fever (usually)
- Cough (usually)
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath (usually)
- Loss of taste or smell (sometimes)
- Headache (sometimes)
- Sore throat (sometimes)
- Abdominal pain (sometimes)
- Diarrhoea (sometimes)
- Muscle pain (sometimes)
What can you do to prevent and control an epidemic?
Monitoring the community and identifying sick people
- Identify and isolate sick people before they spread the disease to others
Treatment and management
- Refer suspected cases to health facilities
- Provide psychosocial support to the sick person and their family members
Sanitation and waste management
- Promote proper disposal of waste that might be contaminated
- Promote disinfection of reusable supplies
Hand and respiratory hygiene
- Promote good hand hygiene (handwashing with soap)
- BEFORE: preparing food; eating; feeding a child; treating wounds; or caring for sick people
- AFTER: using the toilet or cleaning a baby; touching garbage or waste; touching or feeding animals; blowing nose, coughing or sneezing; treating wounds; or caring for sick people
- Promote respiratory hygiene and coughing etiquette (cover your cough or sneeze using your sleeve or a tissue, wash hands after coughing or sneezing, do not spit onto the ground or in public)
Personal protection and hygiene
- Practise and promote social distancing
- Use and promote personal protective equipment (for example, face masks and gloves) when in contact with potential cases
Social mobilization and health promotion
- Find out the specific advice being given by health and other relevant authorities
- Promote recommended health practices (such as vaccination, social distancing, separation of healthy people and sick people, etc.)
- Model following this advice and inform community members of current health practice advice
- Offer support and encouragement to follow the advice
- Try to gain understanding about if and why health practice advice is not being followed
- With the advice of your supervisor and health authorities, work with communities to overcome barriers to following health advice and recommended practices
- Support mass vaccination campaigns where available
Mapping and community assessment
A. Make a map of the community.
B. Mark the following information on the map:
- How many people have fallen sick with COVID-19? Where?
- How many people have died? Where? When?
- Who and where are the vulnerable people?
- Where are the health facilities? (include traditional healers)
C. Record the following information on the back of the map:
- When did people start to fall sick with COVID-19?
- How many people live in the affected community? How many are children under five years?
- Are most people in the community vaccinated against COVID-19?
- Is there a vaccination campaign planned?
- What are the community’s habits, practices and beliefs about vaccinations? Are there societal, cultural or religious beliefs that prevent people from getting vaccinated?
- Are there handwashing facilities in the community? Are soap and water always available?
- How common is it for people to live or work together in crowded spaces?
- Is there ventilation and fresh air in homes, schools, and workplaces?
- Who and where are the vulnerable people? Who is most affected by COVID-19?
- What are the community’s habits, practices and beliefs about caring for sick people?
- Consider any differences in roles and responsibilities between women and men.
- Is a social mobilization or health promotion programme in place?
- Which sources do people use / trust the most for information?
- Are there rumours or misinformation about CoVID-19? What are the rumours?