[Humanitarian Aid in Bolivia] Agreement signed between the La Paz Autonomous Municipal Government and HELVETAS Swiss Inter-cooperation Bolivia, as part of the project “COVID-19 Prevention and response measures in urban and densely-populated areas of Bolivia”.

The project is funded by Swiss Cooperation (SDC) through the Humanitarian Aid Hub in Lima, and implemented by HELVETAS Bolivia, Caritas Switzerland and the Munasim Kullakita Foundation.

The Mayor of the La Paz Autonomous Municipal Government, Luis Revilla, stressed that vaccination measures must be accompanied by biosecurity activities and social distancing, but above all by public awareness. Revilla pointed out that “the Agreement is important at a time when we are facing COVID-19 in the health system and in the community as a whole”. He explained that the donated equipment “is essential support for hospitals, for medical staff, and also to raise awareness in the community through the La Paz transport system and through the education programme held by the Citizen Secretariat, with the Zebras”.

The agreement is on specific activities to reduce the risk of infection and spread of COVID-19 and the harm it causes to the most vulnerable people in shelters and pilot urban areas of the La Paz municipality. It will foster a change in habits and customs, through its three pillars of hand washing, social distancing and respiratory hygiene.

Riccardo Riccardi, Country Programme Director of HELVETAS Swiss Inter-cooperation in Bolivia, said it is important to find a balance between public health and economic recovery, especially for people who make their living from informal sector activities in the midst of the health emergency. “The challenge is to reconcile the community’s economic needs and effective COVID-19 infection prevention measures, conceived and implemented with public participation, so that people can take ownership of this through behavioural changes and better hygiene habits” said Riccardi.

The Coordinator of the Humanitarian Agencies Consortium in Bolivia, Jorge Espinoza, said “It is essential to have participatory activities for prevention and mitigation measures, with strong community participation, so that this can be replicated in other contexts, cities, governments and by community organisers”.

The core of the agreement is to promote new forms of communication for preventing infection in public areas that are not well monitored. Through raising awareness in the community and coordinating with grassroots community organizations, such as street vendors and bus drivers, people can work practicing customs and practices and using minimum protocols for hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing masks.

The activities are geared to finding a balance between public health and economic recovery in the midst of the COVID-19 emergency.

Source: HELVETAS Swiss Inter-cooperation

Links of interest:
Disaster Risk Reduction and Humanitarian Aid Programme website.
Brochure: Regional Hub for Disaster Risk Reduction and Rapid Response in the Andean Region / Disaster Risk Reduction and Humanitarian Aid Program

More information:
Rigliana Portugal

Communication and Knowledge Management Specialist
HELVETAS Swiss Inter-cooperation
rigliana.portugal@helvetas.org

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