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Keeping Safe at the Marketplace During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Since Kenya confirmed its first coronavirus case on March 13, 2020 lots of readjustments of our normal lifestyles from the way of worship, and even learning activities was witnessed. Most of our market centers were highly affected, and some were temporarily closed down.

The risks of getting COVID-19 are higher in crowded and inadequately ventilated spaces where infected people spend long periods of time together in close proximity.

These environments are where the virus appears to spread by respiratory droplets or aerosols more efficiently, so taking precautions in these spaces is even more important. It’s because of this that SAWBO prepared video animations to help vendors and customers to prevent themselves from spreading COVID-19.

In this blog I will share the links of three animations dubbed,

1.         How to shop safely in the marketplace during the coronavirus pandemic

2.         How to sell safely during the coronavirus pandemic

3.         Marketplace leader/manager video

The videos can be downloaded and shared freely to any social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter.

Feed the Future Scientific Animations Without Borders Responsive Adaptive Participatory Information Dissemination Program (SAWBO RAPID) is a project of Scientific Animation without Borders (SAWBO). SAWBO RAPID has produced animations identifying critical food security topics and delivering knowledge to mitigate COVID-19’s secondary economic impacts, including disruption to trade, supply chains and markets. The project is based at Michigan State University and Purdue University in the U.S., is funded by USAID under the Feed the Future initiative, and is supported by the USAID Kenya Mission. SAWBO, has been creating animations and delivering knowledge globally for over a decade. The SAWBO library contains over 1,000 animations on 100+ different topics in over 200 language variants reaching over 45 million known viewers. Visit the SAWBO website for more information.

How coronavirus spreads

The virus can spread from an infected person’s mouth or nose in small liquid particles when they cough, sneeze, speak, sing or breathe. These particles range from larger respiratory droplets to smaller aerosols. You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are near someone who has COVID-19. The virus spreads more easily indoors and in crowded settings.

One can have COVID-19 and fail to realize that they are infected and this is the reason why strict adherence to World Health Organization (WHO) protocols designed to stop the spread of the virus should be followed.

In the animations shared we have three common golden rules that where followed will help stop the virus from spreading.

1.         Face masks

Proper use of face masks that covers one’s mouth and nose helps reduce germs from being released in the air. Wearing of masks also reduces the chances of inhaling germs.

Here are the basics of how to properly wear a mask:

•           Clean your hands before you put your mask on, as well as before and after you take it off, and after you touch it at any time.

•           Make sure it covers both your nose, mouth and chin.

•           When you take off a mask, store it in a clean plastic bag, and every day, either wash it if it’s a fabric mask, or throw away a disposable mask in a trash bin.

•           Don’t use masks with valves.

2.         Washing hands

Washing of hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water will eliminate germs that are easily picked from our day-to-day activities. (If available one should use a paper towel commonly known as serviettes to turn off the water tap to avoid putting back the germs onto your clean hands).

Hand sanitizers can be used in absence of soap and water. Proper applying of hand sanitizers and rubbing your hands together for at least 20 seconds helps to kill any virus on your hands.

One should avoid touching their nose, eyes, and mouth after sanitizing or washing of hands.

3.         Social distance

Keep at least a two meter apart distance from people not part of your household. This distance reduces exposure from the virus droplets from infected people.

The simple rules shoppers and vendors should adhere to stay safe:

•           Before leaving home one should plan on what to buy by preparing a shopping list. Also     chose a specific time to do the shopping when the market is a little bit less busy.

•           Don’t go to the marketplace with children. Keep them at home if they can be safely cared for. 

•           When feeling sick or having a fever don’t go to the market.

•           Don’t go to the market place if one of your family members has been infected or is sick. Stay home because you may unknowingly spread the virus.

•           When heading to the market always wear a clean mask and do not touch your face.

•           When in a crowd or group make sure you have your mask on and maintain social distance.

•           Never remove your masks even for audibility. Viruses spreads easily when people are unmasked.

•           Avoid hugs and handshakes, always maintain social distance.

•           Avoid touching products when shopping.

•           Don’t use utensils or chopping tools shared by others.

•           Don’t eat or accept samples.

•           All prepared food should be properly packed in take away bins only and not eaten at the market.

•           Purchase enough stock to avoid unnecessary trips to the market.

•           When arriving home properly wash your hands or sanitize for at least 20 seconds.

Never remove your masks even for audibility. Viruses spreads easily when people are unmasked (Photo courtesy of SAWBO, photographer Gerald Andrew Akolo)

Collective efforts are needed

Strict adherence to these simple recommendations will help us in our fight against COVID-19 in our community. Minimizing the damage of COVID-19 to our community requires collective efforts by all of us, including following the recommendations set by the county and national governments.

Governmental facilitation and city reorganization of markets, public bus stops, hawking – will address the challenges of congestion within the business district, thus enabling people to observe social distancing. Until a vaccine is available to all and affordable, Nairobi will only be saved by us working together and every individual being highly responsible in their own actions.

For more video translations into local languages, click on the links below

Marketplace – Vendor 
Marketplace – Shopper 
Marketplace – Leader 


Note: The information and content in the video (content) should not substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any kind. Michigan State University, Purdue University, and SAWBO disclaims responsibility or liability for any loss or injury that may be incurred as a result of the use of any content included in the video. Viewers and users of the video should always consult a physician or other professional for diagnosis, treatment and/or advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of the content of this video.

SAWBO RAPID is funded through a grant from Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. This blog article was made possible through support provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development under the terms of agreement no. 7200AA20LA00002. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. government

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Journalist/PR Practitioner who seeks to tell the African stories in an African way. Be it on Politics, Sports, Business, and Current News the story will be told. Twitter @kmajangah

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