Coronavirus: in Timbuktu youth are at the forefront of raising awareness against COVID-19

In its efforts to raise awareness against the coronavirus, the association “The voice of the students of Timbuktu” has just trained around thirty young people in respect of measures to stop the contagion. The training can be recognized as a means to strengthen the prevention of COVID-19 in Timbuktu, where nothing seems to worry the population.

Approximately thirty young people composed of men and women were trained by the association on 22 April 2020 on how to protect themselves and protect others against COVID-19.

This pandemic has wreaked havoc in the world since its appearance in December 2019 in Wuhan, China. As of April 23, in our country, Mali, 309 people have been infected, including 77 sick patients and 21 patients who died from the virus. Most of the regions are affected by the disease. From Kayes to Kidal, passing through Bamako, the number of infections is multiplying. These figures should draw attention to the situation and encourage the inhabitants of Timbuktu to comply with established preventive measures.

While officially Timbuktu has not yet registered a case of COVID-19, the population is struggling to comply with the barrier measures recommended by experts. In the city, groups of more than 50 people engage in outdoor activities including: sports in stadiums, outings on the dunes, picnics, and so on. For the time being, citizens continue to go about their daily lives without any restrictions. Nothing seems to worry the inhabitants of the “city of 333 Saints” despite the calls of religious leaders and messages of awareness that invade the “Mysterious City”. At present, compliance with barrier measures remains the only effective preventive measure against the virus.

At present, compliance with barrier measures remains the only effective preventive measure against the virus

The organizers of the above- mentioned training addressed to the youth of Timbuktu, previously benefited from the same exercise with the regional health authorities. Abdoulaye Coulibaly, a member of the association, reported to us: “We have successfully completed this training by the health authorities, in our turn we have transmitted it, and, in your turn, you must also transmit it” he declared, addressing the beneficiaries.

During the training, hardworking beneficiaries dedicated to passing on the knowledge, made recommendations to expand such initiatives in other localities of the city for the benefit of other layers of the society.

Abdallahi Baby, a young man who participated in the training, stated that the session had been very useful to him, but he called on the implementers to improve some techniques, since according to him “we must certainly educate, but we can’t educate empty handed.” He also added, “people need soap, sanitizers, kits; they know about the disease, but most do not have the necessary means.”

Among the young people trained, some expressed their concern regarding the arrival of passengers in the city without screening. This situation worries the youth: “everyday people leave Bamako for Timbuktu without being tested on arrival,” warns a participant.

The Author

Mohamed Mahmoud Elhadj is an activist in the fight against violent extremism in Timbuktu, a blogger, a young leader. Graduated from the Faculty of Human Sciences and Education Sciences, collaborator at SankoréLabs, Mohamed Mahmoud ELHADJ, writes on governance, culture and citizenship.

Originally published on 23 April 2020 at the following link: https://elarawani.wordpress.com/2020/04/23/coronavirus-a-tombouctou-la-jeunesse-en-premiere-ligne-dans-la-sensibilisation-contre-le-covid-19/