Study Recommends Livelihood Programs Among the Urban-Poor to Curb COVID-19
A study conducted by students and lecturers from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), has revealed that a section of the urban poor are at most risk to the threat of COVID-19.
A lecturer in Food Microbiology at LUANAR, Tinna Manani, said the study, which was conducted in Lilongwe and Dedza, had revealed that vulnerable people who live in unfinished houses in urban areas are providing a fertile ground for the Coronavirus to spread.
Manani told Malawi News Agency (MANA) after presenting the results of the study to Dedza District Nutrition Coordinating Committee (DNCC) in the district on Monday.
“We had a study on WASH and food safety in the context of COVID-19 in which we wanted to find out whether people have challenges in accessing water and soap,” said Manani.
Washing hands with soap is among the guidelines that were put in place by the Ministry of Health to curb the spread of Coronavirus.
“The study showed that although most people in urban areas have access to safe water, there are some in these areas who are homeless.
“Most of them dwell in unfinished houses that have no toilets and they use surface water which is unsafe,” she added.
She said a majority of these people are in the low-income group and cannot afford to buy clean water.
The Food Microbiology Lecturer further said there is a need for government and other stakeholders to intensify livelihood programs to sustain such people who cannot use the income generated to purchase soap.
Reacting to the findings, Dedza District Nutrition Officer, Juliet Jinazali, acknowledged the need to give special consideration to vulnerable people who reside in urban areas.
“Irregular incomes among these people has exposed them to the potential threat of COVID-19, but as a council together with supporting partners, we will search for more options to ensure that hygiene and food essentials are provided to these people,” she said.
Jinazali further said there is also a need to put in place social protection systems that would ensure that vulnerable people have other amenities which will help them find good accommodation and safe water as well.