Preparedness, not panic. Let’s all repeat it together. Preparedness, not panic.

So how should we be preparing here in Dakar? For those that have seen me get squeamish around taking out a splinter, you know I’m not a medical professional. But I have friends with roots and connections here in Senegal who are and we’ve been talking a lot about what preparedness should (or could) look like. From those conversations, I have made this list. More ideas welcome!

1. Don’t settle for crappy news sources.
Go straight to reputable sources for your information. If you see something shared on social media with a source listed, go to the source and verify it before sharing. (This is exactly how the rumor got started that Senegal was the #2 most polluted country in the world. An article + image circulated on social media citing the WHO/OMS as a source, but wasn’t.)

For Covid-19 in Senegal, the sources I am looking to are:

Daily briefings and communiqués published on the health ministry website and Facebook page. Not the ones that are being shared on WhatsApp. Go. to. the. source.

World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
JHU Covid-19 Global Cases

2. Store a 2-week supply of food and water (per DHS recommendations for before a pandemic) while supporting local production. This means your shopping list could include a large bag of rice from Casamance, dried niébé beans, all-peanut butter from Veronique’s peanuts, fonio… And don’t forget the piment sauce!

3. Go online. Should you choose to follow social distancing guidelines or need to self-quarantine, delivers a growing variety of groceries, Hypermarché has online ordering and delivery via Jumia Food, and Club Kossam is rolling out their organic grocery ordering and deliveries, including BeerSheba products. MIYA delivers water. 

4. Drop the bisous and handshakes already.

5. Go ahead and buy medicines you may need for common illnesses (pain relievers, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, drinks with electrolytes…). Also be sure to buy at least 3 weeks of any prescription medications you may need. Do this NOW. But please read up on mask recommendations before buying and wearing them.

6. Talk to your kids. Talk to them about hand washing, talk to them about their fears, equip them with truth and the power to protect themselves and others. If you’re feeling a bit lost on how to do this, there are lots of great resources online.  

7. Save these numbers. 

Health ministry hotline: 800 00 50 50
SAMU Nationale: 15 15
Health ministry alert numbers: 767659731 / 707171492 / 781721081

But before you call them, call SOS Medecins, Remed24 or your usual GP. Local physicians are a key first screening step to save resources above from unnecessary overload.

8. Keep an eye on yourself, and others. Self monitoring and self quarantining are the new adulting, people. Let’s be smart together. 

Preparedness, not panic.

Wash your hands like you just ate mafé and are about to crochet a white Kayoong basket.