(ERGO) – Mohamed Isaq Ibrahim, a resident of Shinile camp in Deynile district of Mogadishu, has been able to visit the market without worrying after receiving three boxes of disposable facemasks, gloves, and five bottles of hand sanitizers in February.
Like many IDPs, Mohamed and his family could not afford to buy the items.
“I sanitize whenever I go to the market and even when coming back home. I also wear the facemask and I pray alone at home,” Mohamed told Radio Ergo.
In January, Mohamed suspected he had COVID19 after having flu-like symptoms. He visited De Martino hospital where he tested positive for the virus. He said he quarantined at home in the camp, and is the only one among the camp’s 70 residents he knows to have tested for COVID19.
The former businessman fled to Mogadishu with his family in 2018 following conflict in Barire, Lower Shabelle region.
Nearly 400 families living in 12 IDP camps on the outskirts of Mogadishu have received COVID19 protection kits provided by local groups Barwaqo, SOCCO and DOSYO.
Abukar Hussein from SOCCO said the distribution was meant to provide families with the resources they need to stay safe from the virus. They found as they conduced awareness campaigns that most IDPs were lacking personal protective items.
“The people who live in camps outside the town aren’t much aware of the dangers of this pandemic. It is through awareness that they get to know about it,” said Abukar.
However, there have not been enough disposable facemasks to go around and many IDPs are turning to the more sustainable option of using cloth masks.
Maimun Mohamed, a mother of eight living in Kheir Suge camp, told Radio Ergo that she quickly used up the disposable she was given. However, a neighbour gave her a cloth mask that she is wearing instead and washing twice a week.
“My family received three soaps and six facemasks that were used up after a few days. Now, I use this cloth mask,” said Maimun. “I am aware of the dangers of the disease, but we use whatever we beg from the neighbours.”
A women’s group conducting awareness campaigns has raised money to provide cloth masks among its members in Shinile IDP camp.
Nuro Salad Mohamed, a mother of four and a member of the group, said they donated 200 cloth facemasks to 50 IDP families in early March. She noted that they are conducting awareness campaigns among the IDP families once a week.
“They’re not like before – nowadays the camp residents are taking the disease seriously and following the COVID19 guidelines,” Nuro declared.