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How can hygiene kit distributions be done safely?
How can hygiene kit distributions be done safely?
Sian White avatar
Written by Sian White
Updated over a week ago

There are a range of measures that can be taken to make hygiene kit distribution safer for staff and communities. If you make changes to distributions make sure to communicate these changes widely. This is important because people may panic or be tempted to break the new guidelines if they perceive that there is a limited stock of items. 

In all cases distributions should ensure that basic hygiene and physical distancing measures are followed.

  • Handwashing facilities - Make sure there is a handwashing facility with soap and water at the location where people are collecting kits. Encourage community members to wash their hands with soap when arriving at the distribution area and after signing for their kit (this should minimise the risk of contamination from signing for receipt of the kits). Encourage staff to wash hands frequently during distribution. 

  • Physical Distancing - use simple approaches to put in place physical distancing cues. This should include measures to make sure individuals in the cue stand 2m apart and should establish a one-way system for entering and leaving the area. You can use simple visual cues such as signs, or create markers or circles on the ground. For example, the image below shows different coloured sand being used to create physical distancing measures in a camp. 

  • Protective equipment for staff - Staff should have access to basic protective equipment such as masks and gloves. Read our guidance about how to use these items safely. Also make sure staff maintain physical distancing between each other and between camp residents. 

Source: ACF Nigeria 

The following practical suggestions for hygiene kit distribution may be relevant to your setting depending on physical space available and the stage of the outbreak in your country. 

  • Smaller group distribution - Adapt distributions so that they take place in locations throughout the camp or community to reduce the need for people to travel and so that they only require smaller groups of people to come together in one location. 

  • Allocate time slots - minimise the need for everyone to attend the location at once by allocating and communicating time slots throughout the day. One way of doing this is to call different camp blocks or neighborhoods at a specific time or distribute tokens that can only be redeemed between certain hours. In communities you may also be able to use house numbers to allocate times (e.g. anyone with a house number ending in 1 should attend distribution points between 9am - 10am). Note that for protection and safety reasons we suggest that distributions are only done during daytime hours. 

  • Moving distributions to open spaces - make use of any available open spaces. This may include unused land around the perimeter of the camp or spaces that are not being utilised during the outbreak such as schools or meeting spaces. However avoid doing distributions inside. 

  • Door to door delivery - in some camps it might be possible to deliver hygiene kits door to door with vans. This is likely to be necessary as the outbreak progresses in order to allow for sick individuals to remain in isolation. Staff should not enter households and if interacting with families should remain outside at a distance of 2m. 

  • Ensure that only one person from a household collects the kit - Ensure that the kit can be easily collected and managed by one person. If kit size is dramatically increased then this may require more than one person to collect and carry the items, which should be avoided at this time. 

Given that the measures outlined above may be different to your standard programming, it might be useful to conduct a simulation or pilot of the revised distribution process prior to rolling it out more widely. 

The UNHCR, IOM and the Inter Agency Standing Committee have all developed guidance for COVID-19 prevention in camps and camp-like settings. These include further information on the distribution of hygiene kits. 

Want to know more? 

Editor's note

Author: Sian White
Review: Tom Heath, Lauren D'Mello-Guyett
Last update: 15.04.2020

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