When early cases of the novel Coronavirus were being confirmed in Africa, Solomon Shehu Jatawa reached out to REFUNITE. He asked for support to equip himself with knowledge and ideas that could help him take the right steps to protect his community of Postikum town in Nigeria.
Solomon Shehu Jatawa, who is a member of RELAY Community Network, took action after receiving various COVID-19 prevention printable materials and protective guidelines. He engaged his community in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 through sensitization and awareness daily, distribution of hand washing facilities and locally made reusable facial masks. “The WHO’s protection guidelines against COVID-19 received from RELAY Community Network and collaboration with its other leaders across Africa inspired me to take action,” said Solomon.
“If every community leader could stand up and join this fight, Africa would beat COVID-19”, he said, underlining the importance of community leaders to get involved. Solomon used his own money to make hand-washing facilities recycling 20-liter empty jerrycans, after he learned what a leader in Tanzania had implemented something similar in Nyarugusu camp.
These facilities are placed at the venues of worship, such as churches and mosques as well as at local primary and secondary schools where teachers still go daily even though students remain at home. Before COVID-19 pandemic, a basic medical face mask could cost 200 Naira (USD 0.5) at a local pharmacy, but now it has reached 800 Naira (USD 2).
As the average Nigerian lives with under USD 1/ day, Solomon also designed a simple reusable face mask and trained two local tailors on how to make them. He has introduced the samples at a local hospital and county government to get approval for mass production so that he can distribute them within the community for free safely if approved.