MWP Responds To COVID-19
The Moving Well Project International addresses COVID-related health needs of a migrant population at high risk for COVID-19 exposure, the fish trader community in Lusaka.
As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the global community with devastating outcomes. Although the current number of cases of individuals in Zambia are fairly low, for fish traders who rely on traveling long distances for their livelihoods (often through crowded public transport methods), sell fish in crowded marketplaces, there is no option of social distancing. In addition, lack of access to clean water and health clinics, high poverty levels, and lack of health risk information may contribute to the increased risk among fish traders. Finally, we know that individuals with compromised immune systems are at highest risk of severe symptoms and/or death. As fishing communities have HIV prevalence rates 4-14 times higher than national rates, fish traders living with HIV are at risk for severe symptoms AND will have difficulty accessing health clinics who can treat their symptoms.
To date, we have raised enough funds to provide a ‘package’ of COVID health prevention products for over 100 fish traders. The packages are currently being distributed. Each package will include:
Hand washing station
Hand washing liquid soap
Educational materials on social distancing, hand washing, proper use of hand sanitizer and other COVID-19 health risk information (based on CDC and WHO Guidelines)
cloth face masks
Thank you for helping us reach our goal! We will continue to provide health, mental health and psychosocial programs as they relate to COVID-19 (in addition to overall programming and organization development). Please continue to support our efforts!
The Chairman of the fish market and fish traders in Lusaka during the distribution of health packages
Tigwilizane (Community working in unity)
Fish Trader Project in Zambia
In Zambia, HIV prevalence among females between the ages of 15-59 is 14.9%. Among women who spend time away from home for more than one month, HIV prevalence is 15.5%; and 17.3% among women who have slept 3 or more times away from home in the past 12 months. Although limited data are available, it has been estimated that HIV prevalence is 24% or higher in some fishing communities in Zambia with no indication of decline. For female fish traders, an inability to negotiate condom use, gender-based violence, transactional sex for transportation to and from fishing camps with truck drivers, “fish for sex” deals with fishermen, multiple concurrent sexual partnerships, lack of economic alternatives and easily accessible alcohol and substance use to deal with stressors of the job all contribute to an increased risk. Thus, there is a need for innovative HIV intervention strategies that are gender-specific and unique to female fish traders at risk for and living with HIV, which address the following: risk behavior, substance use and trauma symptoms, economic alternatives to fish trading, and linkage to health care.
The MWP team has worked with female fish traders since 2014. Based on an extensive needs assessment we have continued to work with the fish trading community to develop a program which will address their health and mental health needs. In recent months, the team has worked with female fish traders at the John Leinge Fish Depot conducting a series of focus group discussions. The discussions have aimed to adapt an evidence-based, gender-specific and trauma-informed health and mental health program. We utilized a modified ADAPT-IT methodology (Wingood & DiClemente, 2008) where fish traders are actively involved in reviewing each component and stage of the intervention/program by providing ongoing feedback. Core and essential components of the evidence-based program are maintained but other aspects are tailored, modified, or changed to fit the context. In addition, discussions with the fish traders entailed soliciting information on additional components that should be added based on their specific needs. We are currently in the process of revising the program based on the feedback and collaboration process with the fish trading community. Please stay tuned for the next stage of the program development!
"Now due to difficulties in buying fish most women end up having sexual affairs with such fishermen in order to get fish from them."
-Zambian fish trader