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Developing Standard Operating Procedures, especially focused to develop the best practices for SGBV case management through working with communities and frontline officials with the support of Swiss Embassy through SDC.

Shanthiham-Association for Health and Counselling is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that has been working towards bridging the services of counseling and psychosocial assistance with the individuals, families, and communities who are in need. However, the emergence of the COVID-19 3rd outbreak in Sri Lanka made us realize the importance of scaling up the services to support people at the optimal level to get through the unprecedented circumstance. Accordingly, Shanthiham extended its focal area from mental-health support to the overall wellbeing of individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic to support people in the best ways to manage the COVID-19 catastrophic situation efficiently.

In accordance with the situational analysis of COVID-19 spread in the Northern Province, the rates of infection and fatality had been elevating during June. Based on the report produced by Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Health, it was 1996 cases in Jaffna, 481 cases in Vavuniya, 172 cases in Mullaitivu, 356 cases in Kilinochchi, 344 cases in Mannar, and on the whole, it was 3349 infected cases recorded in June solely. In comparison to June, the number of infected cases and fatality rate had significantly gone down in July due to the increased measures taken against the spread of the virus. The interprovincial travel ban and lockdown had made a considerable difference in the number of people who got infected. There was overall 2279 infected cases recorded in the Northern province in July and in district wise it was 1219 infected cases in Jaffna, 243 cases in Vavuniya, 109 cases in Mullaitivu, 279 cases in Kilinochchi, and 429 cases in Mannar. The observed reduction in the number of cases was again starting to escalate during August subsequent to the relaxation of lockdown and travel restriction by the Government. In total it was 6685 cases in August, and 5998 cases in September were recorded in the Northern Province. The highest monthly average of confirmed cases was recorded in these two months only. The below chart shows the cases recorded in the 5 districts of Northern Province during August and September.

Districts August September
1. Jaffna 2671 1772
2. Vavuniya 993 505
3. Mullaitivu 268 420
4. Kilinochchi 2387 2930
5. Mannar 366 371
Northern Province 6685 5998

The observed peak in the cases urged everyone to follow and maintain the safety measures at all costs to protect themselves from the contamination of the virus. To alleviate adversity, travel restriction, and lockdown have been imposed by the Government again. As a result, the number of total cases has started to fall significantly in October and it has come to the point that nowadays it is 10-15 cases only being recorded. Earlier this month, it was 436 cases in Jaffna, 185 cases in Vavuniya, 110 cases in Mullaitivu, 624 cases in Kilinochchi, and 149 cases in Mannar recorded.

The Statistics of COVID-19 infection in Sri Lanka made us accelerate the services. To respond to the emergency, first Shanthiham carried out a ground situational analysis on the required support for people during the situation of COVID-19 and subsequently, Shanthiham collaborated with respective State sectors such as the Regional Department of Health, Provincial Department of Health, Hospitals, District Secretariat, Divisional Secretariat, Mental health units and Regional Epidemiologists to provide appropriate assistance to people in need. Accordingly, Shanthiham outlined the target groups that need to be given priority in terms of imparting support. The selected target population were, people who got contaminated by the virus and were taken to the Intermediate Care Centers for further support, Suspects of COVID-19 affected ones who are in-home quarantine, and the general population who were affected by the COVID-19 situation physically, mentally, and emotionally.

  • Tele counseling and Virtual psychosocial support for Northern Province

  • Provision of basic essential hygiene items for most vulnerable families in the community who are under home quarantine and the care homes in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, and Mullaitivu.

  • Provision of necessary tools and equipment for 4 Intermediate Care Centers in Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, and Mannar.

  • Distributing leaflets, posters, and creating videos to create awareness and educating the public on COVID19.

  • Promotion of latest Mental Health and Psychosocial messages through Facebook, Viber, WhatsApp, and YouTube.
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