Even if there are very few cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Goma, the capital city of the North Kivu province, the fact remains that masks and barrier gestures are essential in order to prevent possible spread. MONUSCO police (UNPOL) recently sensitized road traffic police (PCR) on how to deal with road users during this period of global health crisis.
Sixty-one road traffic police officers, dressed in uniforms covered with yellow waistcoat, stood one meter from one another in the compound of the Road Police Officers headquarter in Goma, based in Mabanga, one of the districts of the capital of North Kivu braced to meet MONUSCO police (UNPOL) accompanied by Colonel Paluku, the deputy provincial commissioner of the Congolese National Police (PNC) who came to raise awareness of the barrier gestures they should adopt in their daily contacts with the population who use the teeming streets of the North Kivu capital.
Colonel Paluku was the first to speak in Kiswahili about the barrier gestures: "wash your hands as often as possible, sneeze in the elbow, do not touch your face, stand more than a meter from one another, what is commonly referred to as social distancing.
We have thought of those on the front line ...
The next speaker was Colonel Moussa Sangare, the chief the UNPOL sector in Goma who, addressing the sixty traffic police present that day, in turn repeated the barrier measures to be taken and emphasized their importance, further indicating: "We will also help you by providing you with several hand washing stations to place in your workplaces."
"You deal with road users every day and sometimes you may forget to use the prevention rules," said Françoise Zomaitohoue, UNPOL officer in Goma and chief commissioner in Benin. As a Focal point in Goma for the UNPOL Women's Network (which includes around one hundred MONUSCO policewomen), Françoise Zomaitohoue said: "offering this kind of awareness during a critical period is tantamount to applying "common sense, especially that the police in Goma, more particularly the road traffic, are the privileged partners with whom we work in synergy. So, we thought of them first as they are on the front line."
Being on the front line, like the healthcare workers dealing with the pandemic, they are entitled to facemasks. So, MONUSCO police approached a group dressmakers led by Maman Marie in Ndosho district to ask them to make masks out of women's loincloths fabrics. The offer was accepted and the women dressmakers made several hundred masks.
Thanks to the awareness of the barrier gestures, nearly a hundred masks were distributed to the PCR police as well as hand washing sanitizers. The second Goma police unit targeted that day by UNPOL was the child protection and sexual violence prevention squadron, which received a total of 91 masks, also made by the dressmakers from Ndosho.