Response to Covid 19
As witnessed during public health emergencies and outbreaks of communicable diseases in the past, the rapid spread of COVID 19 as well as the lack of understanding and medical preparedness to deal with it, have also led to anxiety and fear among communities. The spread of fake news and misinformation on social media platforms has further led to stigmatisation and social isolation of people and communities affected by the virus. During such a time, there is a need to spread relevant awareness and continually engage in effective behavioural change strategies to ensure that norms of physical distancing and hygiene routines to check the spread of COVID 19 are followed. Population Foundation of India’s collaboration with the Government of India and Facebook is a national- level campaign to counter the spread of misinformation related to COVID 19.
Information Hub on MyGov Platforms
Population Foundation of India, in collaboration, with Facebook is the content partner for Government of India MyGov page for creating the content strategy, messaging and creatives around COVID-19 tailored for Facebook, Whats App and Instagram platforms. Besides a host of static creatives and infographics, here are some of the videos that were created.
PFI conceptualized and created a short film on female healthcare workers at the forefront of COVID-19. The video was also published on Government of India’s MyGov Facebook page and has become one of their top performing posts with over 4.6 million within 24 hours.
In accordance with the current mandate of the Stigma & Discrimination Campaign under Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), PFI, in collaboration with renowned theatre and film director Feroz Abbas Khan, developed short animation films (90 seconds or less) using humour and an entertainment education format to address the issue of stigma against healthcare workers and COVID-19 patients in a sensitive and appropriate manner. Hasya Kavi Potliwala is a short animation film featuring a poet who recites a short “kavita” addressing stigma against COVID-19 patients. Watch Hasya Kavi Potliwala here.
PFI has also conceived the Corona Ki Adalat animation series, that uses the familiar setting of a courtroom drama to disseminate key messages, tackle misinformation and reinforce a sense of solidarity around the fight against COVID-19.
Partnering with State Governments
To ensure that materials being developed are as widely shared as possible PFI is also working directly with state governments, MoHFW and civil society organizations to share materials in Hindi, English and regional languages for their use.
- Our teams are coordinating closely with the Mission Directors, State Nodal Officers- Community Processes and IEC of 37 States & Union Territories to support further disseminating our materials across around 150 districts.
- PFI is collecting feedback and inputs from state and district nodal officers to track the COVID-19 response of health departments, initiatives being taken by ASHAs and Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committees (VHSNCs) and MahilaArogyaSamities(MASs). PFI is also tracking the health department’s responses to critical issues and challenges faced by communities as well as services providers.
- On the request from the MoHFW, a set of guidance notes on COVID 19 response and mitigation have been developed for Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committees (VHSNCs), Mahila Arogya Samities (MASs), Rogi Kalyan Samities (RKSs) and Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs). The state and districts nodal officers will be oriented to use these resource materials at the field level.
- On request from the Uttarakhand National Health Mission (NHM) team, guidelines and IEC materials have been developed for taxi drivers, restaurant/ hotels and security staff on norms and precautions on COVID-19.
- PFI is supporting state governments to make modifications to their Programme Implementation Plans (PIPs) to prioritize resources for COVID-19, especially for community action.
- PFI is supporting the State Health Society Bihar (SHSB), Government of Bihar in undertaking regular data analytics as well as developing communication materials on COVID-19
Working with NGOs
All the materials being developed under the Facebook partnership are disseminated widely through NGOs to ensure maximum reach.
- We shared the communication materials with civil society organizations as well as network and coalitions including ARC (Advocating Reproductive Choices) which has 167 members.
- There are small grants being made in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi and Jharkhand to organizations active in addressing poor and marginalized communities’ immediate needs (cooked food, ration, masks and sanitary supplies) in the field and quarantine centres during the COVID-19 crisis.
- PFI is convening and coordinating with civil society organizations (CSOs), including social marketing organizations (SMOs) working on reproductive health and family planning to identify a consolidated approach to ensure that information and services continue to reach clients.
- Along with its NGO partners we have strategically engaged with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India leading to the inclusion of family planning in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India (MoHFW) guidelines as essential health services.
Engaging with the Media
In order to ensure an informed discourse on the impact of COVID-19 and the subsequent response of the public health system, PFI has consistently engaged with the media through interviews as well as opinion editorials.
Generating Evidence on Impact of Covid 19
- PFI has made efforts to generate evidence on impact of Covid 19. PFI commissioned a study in five states (UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Odisha) to assess the impact of Covid 19 on availability of services and commodities in public health facilities and outreach and work of front line workers.
- PFI conducted a telephonic rapid assessment with adolescents and youths in three states (Rajasthan, UP and Bihar) to understand the level of knowledge, attitude and practices with regard to COVID-19 and how it is impacting them. Read the report and findings here.
- A field survey was undertaken by the Advocating Reproductive Health Choices coalition (ARC), of which PFI is the secretariat, across 27 districts in Bihar to understand the status and challenges in re-initiating family planning services. A letter has been sent to the Executive Director- State Health Society Bihar (SHSB) on the status and recommendations to strengthen service delivery at the field level.
- On the eve of World Population Day, the organisation released a policy paper —The Impact of COVID 19 on Women assessing the differential impact of COVID-19 and recommending timely measures to ensure women and girls remain central to COVID-19 response planning and recovery efforts. Read the policy brief here.