United Nations peacekeepers in the Central African Republic are helping to battle the coronavirus pandemic alongside the government led by President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, and one of their priorities is shutting down misinformation about COVID-19.
MINUSCA is distributing 50,000 solar-powered radios to communities in CAR to improve people’s access to health information and reduce rumors about the illness. That’s especially critical in a nation that continues to endure conflict and where community mistrust often exacerbates tensions and interferes with humanitarian aid.
The UN has committed US$3 million from its Humanitarian Fund to support the COVID-19 response in CAR, as part of a $12 million allocation to more broadly improve health care access, sanitation, food security and water resources.
The solar-powered radios, along with more than 500 radio sets distributed separately, are part of a comprehensive effort to ensure that communities are in contact with public health authorities and credible information sources.
MINUSCA also sponsored training sessions for journalists who are reporting from the front lines during the pandemic, and recruited 75 youth to act as influencers about COVID-19 in their communities.
The Central African Republic reports 94 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Tuesday, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Ten people have recovered and there have been no fatalities as yet, but the country’s limited resources and the security context have heightened efforts to try to prevent its spread.