Bénin: COVID-19 Situation Report #24, UNICEF, 2020

Bénin: COVID-19 Situation Report #24, UNICEF, 2020

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Author : UNICEF

Publication Type : Report

Date of publication : 2020

Link for the original document


Situation overview

As of 26 November 2020, 3,015 COVID-19 confirmed cases have been identified in Benin out of 336,377 tests conducted. 99 new cases were identified in the last week. There were no new cases of death during the reporting period, the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic remains at 43 deaths. Fatality rate stands at 1.4% whilst the recovery rate is 94.2%, with 2,839 recovered cases. Number of children under 18 infected by the virus represent 14.6% of all confirmed cases.

Key updates

  • The most affected departments are all located in the former “cordon sanitaire”, namely, Littoral, Atlantique and Ouémé;
  • Compulsory wearing of face masks in public remain in place; o In addition to mandatory tests upon arrival, the Government announced on 1 September that PCR tests were now required for all passengers departing from Cotonou International Airport. A fee of 50,000 FCFA (90 US$) must be paid by all travelers.

UNICEF’s COVID-19 response Health and Nutrition 1,437 health workers were trained on infection prevention and control (IPC) and COVID-19 case management during the reporting period, covering 14 health zones. Trained health workers have become key players in monitoring compliance with barrier measures through the establishment of “health brigades”.

31 COVID screening centers were opened in 29 of the country’s 77 municipalities. Awareness-raising efforts by Community Health Workers (CHW) and the reorganization of health services are increasing supply and demand services for children and mothers. The number of women and children receiving essential health services, including immunization, antenatal and postnatal care and HIV care, increased from 738,844 to 854253. In addition, 4,256 trained CHW supported the identification and monitoring of suspected and contact cases and ensured screening and referral to health facilities for cases of malnutrition. For comprehensive patient care, UNICEF supported the treatment of 50 hospitalized patients at the COVID-19 treatment center in Cotonou.

The Country Office also supported rapid response teams by providing incentive bonus payments for 259 frontline agents involved in the COVID-19 response, through the contribution from the Netherlands in support of the Ministry of Health’s national response plan. The number of mothers and caregivers of children aged 0 to 23 months who received support, counselling and IYCF services increased from 34,604 to 36,400 during the reporting period.

Among them, 9,982 mothers of children aged 0 to 5 months were sensitized on exclusive breastfeeding and 26,418 mothers of children aged 6 to 23 months received support to strengthen good practices on breastfeeding, dietary diversification, and healthcare for children. COVAX Initiative In accordance with actions underway to make the vaccine against COVAX vaccine available by March 2021, UNICEF and WHO have been tasked with facilitating the introduction of the vaccine in Benin.

As a result, an internal UNICEF COVAX committee has been set up and a technical committee with national authorities was established to facilitate the use and update of the VIRAT tool. A country preparation roadmap has been designed and a request for COVAX Technical Assistance has been submitted to support country preparedness in the areas of communication, vaccine and cold chain management, and logistics.

31 COVID screening centers were opened in 29 of the country’s 77 municipalities. Awareness-raising efforts by Community Health Workers (CHW) and the reorganization of health services are increasing supply and demand services for children and mothers

WASH UNICEF, in partnership with decentralized directions of hygiene and sanitation, intensified awareness sessions on prevention measures, hand hygiene, water treatment and mask wearing in Littoral, Atlantique and Ouémé. Research on handwashing practices in Benin revealed differential coverage from one region and municipality to another.

Handwashing devices could be found in 68 per cent of public spaces in the Littoral. In the Atlantic, only 8 per cent of public spaces and households had handwashing devices and 12 per cent in Ouémé region. At least 46,698 additional women learned how to practice water treatment. A total of 1,648 wells were disinfected.

UNICEF reached a total of 291,126 people through wells disinfection and distributed more than 140,000 aquatabs tablets. 665,545 people benefited from critical WASH supply and services.

The Country office reached an additional 10,000 people through mass and social media in the last month. During the reporting period, in collaboration with the Departmental Directorates of Social Affairs in charge of Children protection, community relays and volunteers organized home visits and group discussions reaching 189.601 people (148,367 adults and 41,234 children) on COVID-19 protective measures and child protection messages and 3,716 community leaders engaged for sensitizing community members.

In the health sector, data provided by 10 Health zones mentioned that 37.288 parents are reached by community relays who integrated COVID-19 protective measures and messages into their routine activities. To date, 1,082,932 people were engaged on COVID-19 prevention activities. In collaboration with 20 local radios and 2 televisions, radio spots on breastfeeding, seeking care and correct use of masks are broadcasted every week in French and local languages from November 2020 to February 2021. Finally, 2,595 people are sharing their concerns and asking questions/clarifications to the community relays and volunteers about COVID-19 protective measures.

Child protection

During the reporting period, 333 social assistants, volunteers and civil society workers from the country’s 77 municipalities were trained on the management of childfriendly spaces and positive parenting to strengthen child protection in response to the pandemic. 106 new safe spaces were set up to provide children and parents affected by COVID-19 with mental health and psychosocial support, bringing to 214 the total of safe places established.

As a result, 904 new girls and 1,101 new boys, and 143 new adults received appropriate psychosocial support. 98 children (71 girls and 3 boys) and adults (24 women) who survived violence and with acute stress benefited from mental health support thanks to the presence of six integrated care centers for victims of gender-based violence.

An assessment of safe spaces revealed their effective operationalization, high levels of children participation and the role of community mobilization. However, training of community facilitators on the management of child-friendly spaces and on positive parenting need to be reinforced. A new tool using KoboCollect is currently being tested to improve the quality of data collected in safe spaces.

At the community level, 1,032 new community leaders (432 women) received information on COVID-19 prevention and protection measures. In turn, they reached out to 4,302 new children (1,995 girls) and 3,159 adults (1,502 women) to prevent and protect children from violence in the COVID-19 context. Through community surveillance mechanisms, 89 suspected and/or confirmed cases of persons infected with COVID-19 (52 children, 37 adults) were identified and referred to health centers

Social Protection & Cash-based assistance

UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Social Affairs and CARE Benin-Togo to implement a cash-based intervention for vulnerable families and children focusing on preventing school drop out of adolescent girls impacted by school closures and at risk of child marriage. The cash transfer program named “Faaba-COVID” and funded by the Netherlands has been officially launched by the Minister of Social Affairs on 19 November. Payments are underway to cover 26,000 girls (eq. 20,000 households) in eight targeted communes. Payments are expected to be finalized by mid-December 2020.