MfM Covid-19 response in Maintirano

MfM Partners step-up to prevent Covid-19 before it reaches remote Maintirano.

Money for Madagascar has sent appeal funds to two well established partners, SAF/FJKM Melaky and Association FIVEM to strengthen their campaign to prepare the population of Maintirano against COVID-19.

The two organizations have joined forces with the local authorities, including the town Mayor, the Regional Director and the Regional Director of Rural Development to provide a strong and coordinated response.

Maintirano usually suffers from isolation. At best it takes 60 hours to reach by road from the capital in a 4×4 vehicle. For much of the year is can only be accessed by boat or the occasional private plane. This isolation is now a gift to Maintirano, buying them extra time to prepare before Covid-19 traverses the whole Island of Madagascar.

Whilst people can still gather in public spaces, MfM partners together with local authorities are seizing this opportunity to run a coordinated public information campaign.

10 years ago MfM gave FIVEMI women’s cooperative a grant to renovate the Filongoa Maintirano Market. Clean , wipeable, market tables were built under a solid roof for shade. Toilets and water were installed and contributions for purchasing water were used to pay cleaners to keep the facilities hygienic. Since then the clean, well-organized market has been run as a social enterprise, generating income from hiring out market tables and kiosks. Income raised goes into a revolving fund, which is managed by FIVEMI to help women to set up their own businesses.

This successful market is now the setting for the mfm funded covid campaign. Free water points have been set up along with advice about hygiene and hand washing. To combat uncertainty, misinformation and rumour, official health bulletins and advice are being broadcast daily on a screen, by megaphone and through leaflets.

COVID-19 Prevention Intervention at Filongoa Market

A strict hygiene and cleaning regime was put in place in the market and surrounding facilities.

Local leaders, members of FIVEMI and staff of SAF/FJKM all took turns to give public health information speeches.   Whilst Covid-19 was the initial focus, they are taking this opportunity to share broader public health information to the market users.

Handwashing techniques are demonstrated and free handwashing points are made available so vendors and the public can wash their hands frequently with soap and water.

Market holders and customers are also advised about ways to trade hygienically, including keeping a suitable distance and cleaning hands after handling cash.

The Covid Prevention Campaign has been well received in Maintirano. The market traders now feel better prepared to face Covid if it arrives in the remote West of the Island. MfM partners, SAF Melaky and FIVEMI women’s coop will continue to support the local population and are staying in touch with MfM to identify if any additional support is needed in the future.

Since social movement remains possible in this remote area, then this could be a good site to step up reforestation work.  MfM will look into this next with our teams.