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UNDP addresses COVID-19 hand hygiene challenges

The UN Resident Coordinator Salvator Niyonzima

Sept. 18, 2020 3 min read

3 min read

AS part of addressing development challenges in Lesotho, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has contributed to the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the construction of 65 hand-washing stations in a bid to encourage hand hygiene and reduce the risk of contracting the Coronavirus.

These stations have been distributed to high population and high risk areas including bus stops, market places and health centres across the country.

The project is being implemented in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Maseru City Council (MCC).

Speaking at the hand-over ceremony that was held in Maseru on Thursday, the UNDP Resident Representative Betty Wabunoha said they saw it befitting to pilot this innovation in these places to encourage behavioural change and hand-washing as a measure for reducing the spread of the Coronavirus.

Ms Wabunoha said it is anticipated that having these stations in open spaces such as bus stops, will be a constant reminder of the basic measures of preventing the virus, which include regular washing of hands with running water and soap.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), washing hands for not less than 20 seconds with running water and soap has potential to reduce the spread and risk of infection of the virus.

The United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator Salvator Niyonzima said they are committed to supporting efforts of all countries and communities in the fight against the pandemic.

He said the pandemic has forced people to take a look at who they are, and be inventive about solutions to respond to the global health challenge.

Mr Niyonzima said this is an unprecedented challenge to the way people used to live, and the way they behaved, adding it is however, encouraging to see that there are solutions out there.

He congratulated the Lesotho government for being pro-active in protecting the people of Lesotho, noting that public measures that have been put in place have had an impact on the economy in particular, adding that is a price to pay to safe livelihoods.

He encouraged the communities working around the new hand washing stations to take good care of the equipment for longevity.

For his part, the Minister of Health Motlatsi Maqelepo expressed his gratitude to the UNDP for its unwavering and long-lasting support to the Lesotho government.

Through their vision, Mr Maqelepo said they want to strengthen primary health care because that is where they will be able to combat most of the diseases.

He said the UNDP’s steadfast aid will go a long way towards helping Lesotho to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Minister of Health Motlatsi Maqelepo

Speaking at the same event, the Town Clerk of the Maseru City Moeko Maboee said while the world’s scientists and WHO are working round the clock to come up with a vaccine, it is imperative to note that each day the country has to come up with strategies to help fight the pandemic.

Mr Maboee said in line with the national response, local authorities also have to play their role and put in place some preventive measures to curb the spread of the global health challenge.

The water stations are products of the UNDP’s innovations programme, called the Lesotho Accelerator Lab (LAL). The purpose of the LAL is to identify, explore and experiment local solutions to address existing as well as emerging development challenges.





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