Principal Investigator: Mohamed Ag Ali Ahmed & Birama Apho Ly (University of Sciences, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako (USTTB))
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, governments around the world began implementing public health measures, such as quarantine. This study looks at how these measures affect the lives of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Mali, and how public health actors can adapt approaches.
This study aimed to contribute towards contextualising and adapting public health measures among Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in order to slow or stop the spread of COVID-19 in the case of Mali.
It focused on:
This study aimed to understand how the COVID-19 response could be supported through improved implementation and adoption of these measures by IDPs.
A qualitative exploratory study involving semi-structured interviews and focus groups was conducted. Participants included administrative, political and health authorities; humanitarian actors; and IDPs living in Bamako and Ségou.
To slow or stop the spread of Covid-19 among vulnerable people such as IDPs, public health measures must be adapted to their socioeconomic realities. This is what this research will contribute to. Propositions will be made to authorities and humanitarian actors to improve the response against COVID-19.
Various specific challenges were faced by both IDPs in Bamako and Segou during COVID-19, and by Malian actors implementing public health measures. It is important to be aware of the specific needs and vulnerabilities of IDPs when implementing public health measures in response to disease outbreaks.
The findings show IDPs were inhibited from complying with social distancing and quarantine measures not only due to practical or economic concerns (such as loss of income), but also psychosocial barriers such as fear of stigma, or unwillingness to break with existing social behaviors. These factors need to be considered in messaging around public health measures.
The lack of dedicated space to enable quarantine was also a barrier which could be addressed in future.
Finally, the strategies of improving systems for early warning about positive cases, and for raising awareness, appear to have been effective and could be built on. Initiatives led by IDPs themselves may be more likely to be sustainable.
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