All Publications

  • Knowledge and perceptions of COVID-19, prevalence of pre-existing conditions and access to essential resources in Somali IDP camps: a cross-sectional study. BMJ open Alawa, J., Al-Ali, S., Walz, L., Wiles, E., Harle, N., Awale, M. A., Mohamed, D., Khoshnood, K. 2021; 11 (6): e044411


    OBJECTIVES: This study examined knowledge and perceptions of COVID-19, prevalence of pre-existing conditions and access to essential resources among residents of internally displaced person (IDP) camps in Somalia, where overcrowded settlements with weakened infrastructure, inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities, and limited access to health services make this vulnerable population particularly susceptible to a COVID-19 outbreak.DESIGN: A descriptive, cross-sectional survey.SETTING: Twelve IDP camps across six areas of the Lower Shabelle region in Somalia.PARTICIPANTS: 401 adult Somali IDP camp residents.RESULTS: The majority of participants were female (86%) and had received no formal education (89%). While 58% reported being in 'good' health, half of the participants reported having one or more pre-existing conditions. Though 77% of respondents reported taking at least one COVID-19 preventative public health measure, respondents reported a lack of access to adequate sanitation, an inability to practice social distancing and nearly universal inability to receive a COVID-19 screening exam. Questions assessing knowledge surrounding COVID-19 prevention and treatment yielded answers of 'I don't know' for roughly 50% of responses. The majority of participants were not familiar with basic information about the virus or confident that they could receive medical services if infected. 185 (47%) respondents indicated that camp living conditions needed to change to prevent the spread of COVID-19.CONCLUSION: This study highlights low levels of COVID-19 knowledge and limited access to essential prevention and treatment resources among individuals living in Somali IDP camps. A massive influx of additional resources is required to adequately address COVID-19 in Somalia, starting with codesigning interventions to educate those individuals most vulnerable to infection.

    View details for DOI 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-044411

    View details for PubMedID 34187818

  • Addressing COVID-19 in humanitarian settings: a call to action. Conflict and health Alawa, J., Alawa, N., Coutts, A., Sullivan, R., Khoshnood, K., Fouad, F. M. 2020; 14: 64


    Refugees and internally displaced persons in humanitarian settings are particularly susceptible to the spread of infectious illnesses such as COVID-19 due to overcrowding and inadequate access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities. Countries facing conflict or humanitarian emergencies often have damaged or fragmented health systems and little to no capacity to test, isolate, and treat COVID-19 cases. Without a plan to address COVID-19 in humanitarian settings, host governments, aid agencies, and international organizations risk prolonging the spread of the virus across borders, threatening global health security, and devastating vulnerable populations. Stakeholders must coordinate a multifaceted response to address COVID-19 in humanitarian settings that incorporates appropriate communication of risks, sets forth resource-stratified guidelines for the use of limited testing, provides resources to treat affected patients, and engages displaced populations.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s13031-020-00307-8

    View details for PubMedID 32934662