Implementing CLA in Namayingo communities in the fight against COVID-19

Community-Led Action (CLA)

It is an approach that is based on the principle that communities have the power to stop the spread of COVID-19 since it recognizes that in every society, communities can change their norms, beliefs, and behaviors in response to the prevailing circumstances around them, and that their collective local actions can effectively mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

In supporting the District Task Force of Namayingo, GOAL-Uganda, a non-governmental organization has employed this approach. About 50 most at-Risk communities were identified both on the mainland and in the islands. 50 Village Health Teams (VHTs) were selected from those communities for training, and these acted as community mobilizers, and these worked in pairs.

The role of the Village health team is to cluster a community in increasingly Small Neighbourhood Units (SNUs) of at least 5 Households each cluster.  In every cluster, only one person (usually the household head) would attend the meeting to discuss concerns about Covid 19 and how it can be mitigated. They would therefore develop their own local action plans and share them back to their respective household members for action.

Under the CLA approach, Community Mobilizers working in pairs and within their areas enable small neighborhood units to do their own appraisal and analysis of the COVID-19 pandemic; its effects and the likely future impact if no local action is taken. The idea is to help residents understand the urgency and the action they can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19, minimize sickness and death from COVID-19, mitigate COVID-19’s secondary impacts, and to ‘trigger’ a collective desire to develop a Neighbourhood Action Plan.

Within this action plan, residents themselves can decide how they will ensure good hygiene practices for everyone, stay at home without going hungry, re-design community centers to facilitate physical distancing, seek medical attention for those who are sick, safeguard older people and those with underlying medical illnesses, report concerns say intruders into their community, among others.

 Here, community mapping and engagement, preparation for triggering, triggering, supporting action planning, and conducting follow ups are done in communities.

During triggering, tools like body mapping, disease spread, social mapping, and masking up and recovery story tools are used.

The Small Neighbourhood Units will implement the agreed actions and report to the VHTs through their identified SNU champion. The VHTs then report to the Health Assistants upwards till the District Task Force.  Here, myths and misconceptions, death cases, number of Covid 19 patients, contacts, among others are also captured and reported to the district task force for the next steps to take.

The district health inspector, Humphrey Oundo stresses the importance of community-led Action during the COVID- 19 task force meeting at the district council hall.