A recent survey has found that 49 percent of low-wager earners in the coastal districts have no clear idea on the primary protective measures, including basic rules of hand washing, required for preventing Covid-19.
About 43 percent also said they are not able to follow the hand-washing rules for different reasons, including less availability of soaps. Seventy-four percent of those surveyed said they don't know about IEDCR and its services.
COAST Trust, an ngo working in the coastal areas of the country, conducted the survey on 250 low-wage earners in Cox's Bazar and Bhola between April 10 and 19.
Forty-seven percent of the respondents were women and 53 percent were men.
Eighty percent of the female respondents were housewives and the rest included students, adolescents and the elderly. Ten percent of the respondents were farmers, 18 percent day labourers, 19 percent small entrepreneurs and 13 percent fishermen.
"We conducted the survey to learn how the poor people in the coastal region are fighting against the unknown disaster of Coronavirus," said Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, executive director of COAST Trust, in a statement.
COAST Trust has taken the initiative to raise awareness using its own fund, he said.
The survey observed that a normal mask available in the local markets there cost between Tk 30 to 40, which is unaffordable for a low-income earner.
"The small entrepreneurs have to go to the marketplace every day for selling their products. They desperately need finance which is not available now since the microfinance operation is closed," it said.
The organisation also made 11 recommendations that include increasing the number of Covid-19 testing facilities in the coastal districts, including NGOs and other organisations like religious leaders in awareness raising and information dissemination.
It also recommended reopening microfinance operations for financing small entrepreneurs and allowing transporting their produces by following proper protective physical distancing measures.