global pandemic

The Covid-19 global pandemic is a never seen before crisis, the impact of which is still an ongoing learning process while simultaneously the world makes attempts at recovery.

The Covid-19 global pandemic is a never seen before crisis, the impact of which is still an ongoing learning process while simultaneously the world makes attempts at recovery. One thing that reinforced itself was human nature, and how irrespective of culture and the geographical location at the end of the day the broad strokes of how people react to their external environment are quite similar.

Reading the following story of a young girl from Bilawal Goth, Karachi is going to resonate with anyone. If you have not experienced it you have heard of it no matter in which part of the planet you live.

At the onset of the pandemic in the country, she along with the majority of people from her community didn’t take it seriously. Their prompt reaction was that this is a conspiracy of the pharmaceutical industry to sell their products fueled by unnecessary media hype. The misinformation was so ingrained to the point that when her own family members contracted the virus they resorted to self-medicating. When the situation became out of control and the patients were finally taken to the hospital and formally diagnosed with Covid-19. When the vaccines were finally available, despite their first-hand experience with the disease her family and the community were skeptical about getting their shots as the misinformation about the effects scared them.

On the other side of this crisis the health care workers, especially doctors who were at the frontline fighting a virus the science of which they were learning on the go additionally also had to deal with the spew of fake news that was making their job quite difficult by many folds. Take this scenario and you will be able to fit it into any health care worker’s story around the globe.

This should then not come as a surprise that the mixing of these two sides created such a complicated matrix that even took a major chunk of the World Health Organization’s efforts had to be directed to combat the spread of misinformation about Covid-19 global pandemic.

However, no matter how dire the situation is as the famous Mister Rogers quote goes, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

In Sindh, these helpers came with a program called, ‘Covid-19 Immunization and Prevention’ by a health tech startup, Sehat Kahani in collaboration with Health Services Academy, Sindh Education Foundation, and UNDP, supported by The Coca-Cola Foundation. In 2021, The Coca-Cola Foundation provided over $20 million to support nonprofit initiatives to help curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, including this project in Pakistan that has created awareness for 20 million and empowered over 7,000 health care workers.

This project has a three-pronged purpose; to increase vaccine awareness, train doctors, and safe immunization of people across the province of Sindh. The Coca-Cola Foundation’s grant helped support UNDP Pakistan and Sehat Kahani’s efforts especially focused on communities with limited access to health care. This partnership has once again proven that the country’s health care challenges can be solved with a collaborative approach.

Through this project, healthcare workers were virtually trained across Sindh on safe and effective immunization. Sehat Kahani also carried out vaccination drives across the province, especially in the underserved areas of Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana, Sanghar, and Thar.

The result of these efforts was a communication bridge built between the people and the healthcare communities where they were able to convey the much-needed awareness in a manner that was both convincing and empathetic. With these efforts, the selected areas saw an increase in the number of vaccinated individuals which helped in stopping the spread. One of the families who got fully vaccinated during this process was that of the young woman from Bilawal Goth, Karachi. She even went a step ahead and made an account on the Sehat Kahani app for both herself and her brother which shows the impact of empathetic communications. Going forward her family and many like hers will be better prepared to deal with any future health crisis.

This news was originally published by Mashable Pakistan.

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