Covid: NHS nurse tells how they taught the Somali community in Church End to help themselves

PUBLISHED: 17:09 15 September 2020

The Somali community in Stonebridge now know how to deal with another Covid spike. Picture: CNWL NHS

The Somali community in Stonebridge now know how to deal with another Covid spike. Picture: CNWL NHS


A Somali community in Stonebridge have been inspired to make their own Covid masks following help and advice from an NHS nurse.

Jenny Lanyero and her colleague Judith Greening spent time with the Somali community in Church End last month to address any concerns they might have during a continuing coronavirus pandemic.

Church End had the highest recorded number of deaths during the covid peak in May and the Somali community were amongst the hardest hit.

“We reached out to the Somali community for many reasons,” said Jenny, a senior nurse practitioner for Brent Primary Care Mental Health Liaison Service. “I know that they were much more severely affected by the pandemic and dealing with it in isolation so wanted to set up a group where we could listen to their concerns.”

She got in touch with Rhoda Ibrahim, the chief executive of community organisation Somali Advice and Forum of Information (SAAFI) in Willesden, who helped set up a meeting.

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“The group wanted to raise awareness about coronavirus, how to protect themselves and other people,” said Jenny. “The training focused on hand hygiene, use of face covering, social distancing and environmental hygiene.”

A tailor in their community was found who could make batches of 100 masks which are now distributed.

“This project is in its infancy, we really wanted to work with the community and equip them so that when we move on they can continue to do what we brought them.

“It was really important that we don’t go to the community to impose anything on them. We provided training which they will circulate to others. They will go into homes, cafes, places with large congregations and it will become embedded in their community.”

Ms Ibrahim said: “Most people don’t speak English and rely on translations. That’s where we felt something needed to be done especially where signs are posted. Covid is not going to go away and people need to be careful. They came so we can give the training ourselves.

“Some people, a lot of them, are on very low incomes. They avoided the face masks, now they are producing them.

“With this message we hope Covid won’t come back and we are so grateful for the help we received.”

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