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May 1, 2020

MNHC COVID-19 Outreach Initiative

The city of San Francisco has done a great job at keeping the contagion of COVID-19 cases low. However, statistics have shown that the LatinX community has been disproportionately impacted by virus. Therefore, Mission Neighborhood Health Center (MNHC) took on the task to do an outreach initiative in the Mission and Excelsior neighborhoods during the weeks of April 13 and April 20.

The objective of such endeavor was to inform the community and business owners about the coronavirus and teach on prevention, as it was not clear that there was enough information in Spanish for the residents. “We did not know if there was enough information in the field for the community,” said Cesar Munroy, the HIV Prevention and Wellness Manager leading the taskforce.

Cesar and his colleagues led this initiative: Daniel Flores, Tonatiuh Garcia, Ruben Martinez and Juan Pablo Medellin.

The MNHC staff went out in pairs and was able to confirm that reliable information in Spanish was missing. They also observed that members of our community were congregating such as day laborers and in marketplaces. Many markets tend to be small so residents find it hard to exercise social distancing. However, they observed that some business owners were practicing distancing by letting in a few customers at a time.

The outreach initiative team proceeded to put up posters around the Mission and Excelsior districts and handed out information on prevention. “One of our successes was to have permission from store owners to post outside their shops including laundromats,” stated Cesar. The team put up more than 300 posters and gave away over 50 flyers across both districts.

One of the challenges that the teams faced was that residents were asking for masks and sanitizers. Due to the shortage of PPE and supplies, the staff members were not able to provide residents with actual PPE but they advised them to use some type of pañoleta (masks made out of cloth) or a similar coverage.

“The team felt productive by going out to the field and being able to give out information. We wish we could have had PPE to give away,” Cesar added. “They – the MNHC staff – felt good when the managers appreciated that they were there helping the community at large.”

MNHC will continue to undertake different initiatives to respond to the needs of our community and families. If you wish to support such initiatives, you can donate to our latest campaign “Help MNHC raise $20,000 by Cinco de Mayo.”

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