Making a difference in COVID-19 hotspots
The Western Cape Government (WCG) provides daily updates on COVID-19 cases to inform an evidence-based approach to tackling the pandemic. These figures are spatially disaggregated so that hotspots – densely populated areas where there are high transmission rates – can be identified. In addition to their line functions, all provincial departments have been tasked with planning and implementing behaviour change interventions to slow the spread of the disease in specific hotspots.
The Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) is responsible for the Southern hotspot (currently focusing on Hout Bay, Masiphumelele, Lotus River, Grassy Park and Retreat) and the Western hotspot (currently focusing on Atlantis, Du Noon and Langa).
Fieldwork in these hotspots takes place in collaboration with local nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), local faith-based organisations (FBOs), local schools, ward councillors, the City of Cape Town, and other WCG departments.
Highlights of DTPW’s behaviour change work in the Southern and Western hotspots include:
- Recording and sharing COVID-19 safety videos featuring ward councillors from Hout Bay, Masiphumelele and Lotus River;
- Distributing thousands of masks and bottles of hand sanitiser through ward councillors, community healthcare workers and NGOs;
- Distributing public transport safety stickers to operators of minibus taxis, buses and trains;
- Distributing material promoting safe scholar transport;
- Placing mobile and digital billboards featuring COVID-19 safety messages;
- Organising activation events in public transport interchanges in Wynberg and Retreat;
- Working with the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDA T) to distribute posters and flyers that target small businesses, informal traders and spaza shops;
- Disseminating information to FBOs about government safety directives for FBO services;
- A project in Langa to source and distribute bicycles to organisations that use the bicycles to distribute food aid and other relief to people in the area; and
- An innovative project to disseminate COVID-19 safety messages through music.