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EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis

Let’s beat Corona campaign in Iraq


The campaign posters reminded me of cleaning and sanitizing my hands every time I finish work


“I was infected with COVID-19 and had to suffer its symptoms for nearly 10 days, including fever,” said Zena Sabah, from Baghdad. “I tried to keep my mind off my illness. I took prescription medication and vitamins to boost my immunity, while continuing to work from home and exercising. This is how I beat the virus.”

Zena is one of nearly 358,290 people reported to have been infected by COVID-19, which caused over 9,100 deaths across Iraq, according to WHO figures as of September 2020. She shared her story to help raise awareness of the virus, its common symptoms and the importance of mental health and wellbeing to recovery. These, in fact, were among the key objectives of the ‘Let’s Beat Corona’ campaign.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) implemented this campaign from June to September 2020, thanks to the support of the EU, in part through the Trust Fund. The campaign reached an estimated total of 31.7 million people across Iraq.

Dozens of volunteers worked on the campaign that reached local communities in nearly 5390 neighborhoods, hospitals and public places. Thanks to their efforts they were able to disseminate nearly 70,000 awareness items in 10 governorates covered under the two aforementioned programmes. Informative posters, illustrating symptoms, hand cleaning, hygiene and protection tips, were put in public places. Car and floor stickers were distributed to promote physical distancing.

“The campaign posters reminded me of cleaning and sanitizing my hands every time I finish work” said Sabah Saeed, a butcher from Duhok, who did not hesitate to request his customers to use hand sanitizer and wear or adjust their masks before accessing his shop.

Billboards displaying health guidance were mounted at checkpoints and several camps for displaced people and Syrian refugees in the Kurdistan Region. Many officials, police officers and frontline workers, including at supermarkets, bakeries and pharmacies, wore the campaign pin badges to show gratitude and spread positivity.

Shna, a lady from Sulaimaniyah, noted that “with UNDP’s awareness campaign, people have become more committed to following health instructions while in the market.”

Highly engaging were an online solidarity concert and e-trivia game with multiple-choice questions about the virus. The concert, named Music is Our Ally, featured 16 famous Iraqi and Kurdish artists and reached over 160,000 people. Among those was Ali Al-Nasrawi, another young recovered patient: “Practice physical distancing and commit to wearing the mask to avoid getting infected or infecting others by COVID-19” he said.