2020

INITIAL COVID-19 RESPONSE

616    02 January 2021

In the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cordaid in Indonesia was still implementing 3 programs in different places in Indonesia. One of them was the Post Earthquake, Tsunami, and Liquefaction Disaster Recovery Program in Central Sulawesi which is implemented by the Emergency Response Capacity Building Consortium (ERCB).

Since the number of people infected by COVID-19 was increasing rapidly, therefore, on the second week of March 2020, the organization’s contingency plan for all of its programs was activated. As a result, all of the program activities that involved a lot of people in their implementations were stopped temporarily until 29 May 2020. This is in line with the Emergency Response period set up by the Government of Indonesia that is represented by the National Task Force for COVID-19.

However, some program activities that do not involve a lot of people and can be managed from the distance are still being
implemented until this article is written. Coordination and communication with all partners are regularly scheduled and held online.

The program team in Central Sulawesi has developed 3-month and 6-month delayed scenarios for their planned activities in the third phase program implemented in Sulawesi. The team has also carefully assessed the program activities and identified which activities that need adjustments. Based on the assessment, the 6-month delayed option is selected and some adjustments are recommended, including budget reallocation.

Indeed, ERCB is currently hibernating from its ongoing program activities because most of the activities involve meetings with a lot of people. However, at the moment ERCB actively engages in COVID-19 response. The team has prepared and distributed some education videos to the community. These videos invite people to do some measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. There are four (4) videos that have been produced by CORDAID and Pusaka Indonesia Foundation, one of the ERCB member organizations, they are: 1) Six Steps for Washing Hands 2) Don’t Cough/Sneeze Carelessly 3) It’s Important to Wash Your Hands with Soap and Running Water, and 4) Always Use a Mask. Besides those videos, ERCB with other partners i.e. Bina Swadaya and its local partner Merah Putih Foundation (YMP) put up some education banners about COVID-19 in some strategic spots in Loli Saluran Village and Labuan Salumbone Village, both are located in Donggala District, Central Sulawesi. Bina Swadaya and YMP work together with the villages’ Community Groups for Disaster Management.

ERCB also provides online psychology consultation for the community. It’s a free consultation and it’s open for anyone who is scared or has concerns about COVID-19. The consultation service brings up a theme of “Together We Recognize, Prevent, and Stop Its Spread” and hashtag #dirumahaja (juststayathome). Mengty D. Benu from YPI provides the consultation service through a hotline number.

Still related to the COVID-19 response, in the near future ERCB is planning to implement some measures especially at the village and kelurahan levels (kelurahan is a city sub-subdivision and it’s equal to a village in rural context). ERCB aims to fill in the gaps in COVID-19 response by empowering the community it serves. For sure ERCB will apply the COVID-19 protocol in implementing the activities, such as maintaining appropriate physical distance as suggested by the government.  

We can say that the preparedness measures taken by the village community to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are extraordinary. In Salua Village which is the gate to enter Kulawi Sub-District from Palu City direction, people have established a post for the COVID-19 Task Force. Each person who will enter Kulawi must wash his/her hands using soap in a place that they have prepared, visitors must report to the person in charge in the post and inform their identities and  reasons to visit Kulawi. The person in charge will also examine the health condition of the visitors. Before continuing the trip to Kulawi, a task force member in the post will spray disinfectant to the visitors’ vehicles.  

In one village in Kulawi Sub-District, i.e. Tangkulowi, people put up a billboard containing public service advice such as requesting visitors to report themselves to the village government. Community members who have just come back from other places should check their health in the community health center. Other suggestions include applying curfew, provision of a washbasin and soap in each house, and promoting hygiene and healthy behavior. The Tangkulowi Village Head, Kristison Towimba, on an occasion led the village COVID-19 volunteers to spray disinfectant in each house and public places in the village. (mdk)

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