In a spirit of solidarity, Switzerland responded quickly and effectively to COVID-19, making strategic adjustments to programmes in course and adopting measures – in several countries in the region – to alleviate the economic and social effects of the pandemic. In Peru, the pandemic led to a health, social and economic crisis.
Metropolitan Lima is one of the worst affected areas, and the most densely populated districts were hardest hit. In North Lima, thanks to the combined efforts of public and private local institutions and organised civil society, a project was developed called “North Lima responds to Covid-19 with prevention and protection”, in response to the Peruvian government’s health emergency measures. It was implemented in the districts of Comas, Los Olivos, Puente Piedra and San Martin de Porres in North Lima, by Acción contra el Hambre (Action Against Hunger) with the technical and financial support of SDC, in alliance with the North Lima Comprehensive Health Department (DIRIS) and the North Lima Municipal Cluster, in coordination with local governments, the Women’s Emergency Centre (CEM), retail markets traders’ associations and community kitchen representatives.
The project began in August 2020 and ended in March 2021. It helped strengthen the organisation, capacities, operations and equipment of primary health care services, food markets and community kitchens, to enable them to provide proper care based on protocols that ensure the prevention and control of the spread of COVID-19 and social protection, with an emphasis on girls and women. It had a three-fold strategy: (i) access to safe water, (ii) adequate sanitation and (iii) promotion of good hygiene practices, for preventing disease and achieving sustainability over time.
The project gave priority to working with the leaders and members of the community kitchens, and leaders of food market retailers, holding educational sessions on safety protocols and preventive measures against Covid-19, carrying out communication plans for broadcasting messages of prevention, providing personal protective equipment, establishing hand-washing and disinfection points, and improving water and sanitation services to make them safe places.
The project focused on strengthening primary health care services by providing personal protection equipment and campaign equipment to promote preventive measures, developing educational materials, providing equipment for the COVID-19 Community Committees, supplying chlorination equipment and installing hand-washing and disinfection points, to safeguard public health.
Installation of water tanks and improving community kitchens in North Lima
In December 2020, the project installed water tanks in community kitchens in the district of Comas. Project personnel visited the following kitchens: Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, Cristo ven a Mí and Comedor Comunal Condevilla.
As a result, the community kitchens have access to drinking water through a polyethylene tank that allows the women to store more water; to prepare more food with proper hygiene, and to have proper hand-hygiene by having clean water. They no longer need to fetch water from a standpipe, and can ensure that the water remains safe, through avoiding direct contact between people and the water, thanks to the installation of an internal distribution network.
Donation of medical equipment, personal protective equipment to the health centres
The donation consisted of pulse-oximeters, thermometers, stethoscopes, portable washbasins, rubbing alcohol dispensers, surgical caps, masks, gloves, stretchers, screens, printers and Tablets, and tents, megaphones and educational material. These were delivered to the Health Ministry’s North Lima Comprehensive Health Networks, to reinforce the work of the primary health-care centres and continue the work of preventing COVID-19, and preventing a new spike.
Guidance on running community kitchens safely and preventing the spread of Covid-19
This booklet presents the COVID-19 prevention practices that should be considered for running and organizing the community kitchens properly. They include staff hygiene measures and care, guidelines for food preservation, food service and pest control. The community kitchens in the target districts were strengthened to ensure safe food, by safeguarding the health of the cooks and beneficiaries with protocols, in accordance with Ministry of Development guidelines, to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 infection. Download the booklet in this link.
Learn more about the project activities through the gallery of images, videos and training materials developed by the project.