--Balochistan Rural Support Programme Fights COVID-19
BRSP’s multi-pronged strategy to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Balochistan
As COVID-19 continues to spread, the present as well future has never felt so unpredictable. These are challenging times for us all. BRSP is doing everything possible to sustain daily operations and provide services to the poverty-stricken population of Balochistan. While there’s a lot of uncertainty, we know that we need to adapt fast to our changing reality. Now, more than ever, the people of Balochistan need us.
BRSP has formulated a comprehensive multi-pronged strategy to combat the spread of COVID-19 by activating multi-sectoral, multi-partner coordination mechanisms to support preparedness and response with provincial authorities and key partners to develop a Balochistan specific emergency operational plan. BRSP has planned the following interventions in the district of Quetta.
The emergency response strategy has been operationalized through mapping of all union councils in Quetta and identifying the most vulnerable populations and a total of 22 teams have been formulated to cover all union councils in Quetta. These designated teams have been trained and will serve as the spokespeople of the district administration and the Government of Balochistan. The Chief Minister of Balochistan has made it mandatory for the public to wear masks including small business owners, shopkeepers, and street hawkers. Shops and businesses will be sealed if the instructions issued by the Chief Minister are not followed in true letter and spirit.
A very important segment of the awareness campaign is to reiterate the use of masks and the importance of frequent handwashing. BRSP has also reviewed the regulatory requirements and legal basis of all potential public healthmeasures. BRSP will use and disseminate lessons learned during the emergency response to inform future preparedness and responseactivities as well course correction of the current emergency response.
BRSP’s interventions will spread awareness, ensure protection through the use of masks and to strengthen the curative side of COVID-19 by equipping health facilities by providing testing kits and personal protection equipment. BRSP is starting the campaign with Quetta but we will eventually expand its emergency response across Balochistan
Highlights of BRSP’s response to COVID-19 in Balochistan
BRSP successfully spearheaded the efforts of awareness raising throughout Balochistan and successfully reached 40,000 people across the province. Additionally, BRSP distributed IEC material in 26 districts to promote awareness and Behavioral Change Communication. Furthermore, BRSP established mobile handwashing units in public places to encourage handwashing practices. Since 50% of Balochistan’s population lives below the poverty line, therefore BRSP complemented the efforts of the Government of Balochistan by using its huge geographical footprint to identify the poorest of the poor for the Prime Minister’s EHSAAS Programme.
Maj(R) Aurangzaib Badini Deputy Commissioner Quetta said in his speech that “BRSP has supported us through thick and thin”. He also said that “ All stakeholders including the Government of Balochistan, Civil Societies, Religious and Political Leaders need to have a unified stance and a clear mitigation strategy to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19. He also thanked CEO BRSP , Nadir Gul Barech for getting all the stakeholders on one platform to talk about this burning issue of COVID-19. He also said that “COVID-19 awareness takes precedence over all other interventions. Secondly, we want to make it mandatory to wear masks. People who can afford to stay at home are requested at home. There 140,000 families who are daily wagers and cannot afford to stay at home. There are 40,000 families who only have ration for 15 days. On the Curative side, we want to get testing kits to assess the extent of the spread of Corona. District Administration and PPHI have gathered to work with BRSP to make a concerted effort to contain the spread of Corona”
Bilal Kakar Coordinator to Chief Minister and focal person of the Chief Minister’s response team for COVID-19 said in his speech that BRSP is playing a very active role to complement the efforts of the Government of Balochistan to contain the outbreak of COVID-19. He further reiterated the importance of awareness-raising and how important the role of ulema, Anjuman e Tajiran, minorities, and civil society organizations in spreading awareness about COVID-19.
Honorable Naseer Shahwani, Member Provincial Assembly " Since day one, we have been saying that we have to forget our differences and fight this pandemic as a nation. There is no room for politics during this emergency”.
He also stated that government development organizations such as BRSP should initiate needs assessment across the province so that the poor and needy can get facilitated. He also mentioned that organizing such ceremonies can also contribute to sensitizing government line departments, civil society organizations, and media so that they would ultimately ensure their specific role across the province.
Amardin Agha, Saddar Markazi Anjuman e Tajiran Balochistan in his speech said that “COVID19 is rapidly increasing in the province that Balochistan government should facilitate local business owners and have a clear and firm strategy to facilitate the masses by providing quality services during Ramazan. He also said that small business owners have been adversely affected by the lockdown and are on the verge of being completely wiped off”.
Allama Hashim Musavi Sb- Religious Scholar " Alhamdullilah all of the Zaireen who came from Iran are fully healthy" Hazara Town and Alamdar Road are safe because the Hazara community is fully sensitized onCOVID -19 are avoid huge gatherings”
Dr. Atta Ur Rehman- Religious Scholar " Worshippers who are infected and still come to the mosque to pray in huge gatherings are putting others at risk. Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) discouraged us from being in close contact with an infected person".
He also highlighted that Islam also talks about cleanliness and proper health & hygiene practices. During his speech, he said that the COVID19 will further spread if we do not start awareness-raising campaigns and ensure the involvement of the key stakeholders such as Ulama and others for the cause. He also applauded BRSP's efforts for minimizing COVID19 in the province.