STAFF GUIDELINES AND CONSIDERATIONS TO GUIDE WORK IN COVID-19.

  1. PURPOSE

The purpose of these guidelines is to facilitate continuity of programming and implementation while minimizing the risk of acquiring COVID-19 infection within the work environment. The guidelines are intended to assist PHAU Management in providing a safe and healthful workplace for the Team. The guidelines contain recommendations and descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards for PHAU staff who shall be accessing office premises and implementing field-based interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidelines and considerations are cognizant of the evolving landscape including the President of Uganda’s Lockdown (social/movement restrictions) and are therefore subject to change depending on the level of threat of the pandemic.

  1. OPERATIONAL AND MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES

The PHAU offices shall be accessible to Staff until a point in time when Government of Uganda and Management advises otherwise during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operational and Management responses and action are hereby presented as below;

  Thematic Area  Operational and Management Response  Action Plan
Access to Office PremisesControl of Access to office premises by Staff to minimize over-crowding and allow for the practicing of social distancing•  Staff who are working effectively from home are to continue given that all departmental objectives and targets are reached in time.
•  PHAU SMT shall decide/agree on the departments that will be in office on particular days and the Heads of department will determine the occupancy on any given workday.  (Note: All Staff members cannot be in office on any given workday)
•  Heads of Departments/Sections shall present their respective periodic (preferably weekly) department work schedules to the HR by the Monday of each new week
•  Staff ill with fever, cough, flu or respiratory illnesses must stay away from office premises/ schedules and report to the HR by the Monday of each new week.  
Traveling to/from Office•  Staff with private cars may travel to office while following the government SOPs.
•  Staff taking public transport are required to wear a mask at all times and maintain social distancing as per the government SOPs.
 •  Staff ill with fever, cough, flu or respiratory illnesses must stay away from office and do not attempt to travel during this time.  
Control of Access to office premises by visitors• Visitors should only come to the office if they must.
• Virtual meetings and/or online document submissions is preferred and recommended
• Handling of visitors will be maintained as follows. Every visitor: – Must present themselves while correctly wearing a mask (at all times) – Must wash hands / sanitize upon arrival at the gate and reception – Must have his/her temperature taken and recorded – Must maintain a distance of 1M while waiting at entry points or while interacting with staff • It is our responsibility as PHAU to notify the COVID-19 Task Force of any visitor that presents with COVID-19 symptoms.  
Conduct of work in office premises  Upon entry  Each Staff:
– Must present themselves while correctly wearing a mask (at all times)
– Must wash hands / sanitize upon arrival at the gate and reception
– Must have his/her temperature taken and recorded
– Must maintain a distance of 1M while interacting with fellow staff  
While at Office/ in-person meetings  • All staff to maintain a minimum distance of 1M between workstations
• Maintain good air circulation within the office – keep windows and doors open
• All staff and visitors to maintain a minimum distance of 1M during meetings and other face to face engagements
• Virtual meetings adopted as preferred way of meeting
• Inter-person/ face to face meetings to happen only if they must and should last no more than one (1) hour
• Inter-person meetings / face to face must be held in areas that allow for good air circulation
• All staff must regularly wash hands and sanitize while at work  
Special considerations for shared spaces e.g. Work areas, Kitchen, Washrooms etc.  • Disinfection of office premises multiple times a day by spraying disinfectant (JIK, Dettol or Harpic) on shared objects and surfaces (Doorknobs, workstations, meeting rooms, etc.)  
• Kitchen – Disinfection of shared utensils and cutlery e.g. cups, plates, spoons, forks etc. – Continue to wash the above items with warm water and soap. – Use more disinfectant (JIK, Dettol or Harpic) for cleaning  
• Washrooms – Regular sanitizing of the doorknobs. – Regular cleaning of the sinks and floor. – Use more disinfectant (JIK, Dettol or Harpic) for cleaning.  
Conduct of work outside office premises  Staff protection and infection prevention  • All staff must properly and correctly use personal protective gear and follow National SOPs (Dependent on the different points of interaction)
• Virtual meetings adopted as preferred way of meeting
• Inter-person meetings to happen only if they must and should last no more than one (1) hour
• Inter-person meetings must be held in areas that allow for good air circulation
• All staff must regularly wash hands and sanitize  
Conduct of work during fieldwork   All field staff (in the public /private sectors and in outreach settings) should follow WHO and national guidance to ensure that all necessary preventive and protective measures are taken to minimize occupational safety and health risks:
• Wear a medical mask at all points of contact with community stakeholders (including clients, CHEWs, champions, peer mobilisers, facility agents, health providers, local leaders, etc.) and places with crowds
• Maintain at least a distance of 1 meter when interacting with community stakeholders (including clients, CHEWs, champions, peer mobilisers, facility agents, health providers, local leaders, etc.). When close contact is inevitable such as during demonstration or service provision to a client, use appropriate and effective PPE.
• Ensure Self-quarantine or self-isolate when exposed and communicate immediately to your supervisor as well as your connection network.
• Always provide guidance to health facilities and outreaches on how to create a safe working environment at the facility level and mitigate risks of exposure by reinforcing infection prevention and control actions.
• Always provide guidance to community stakeholders (including clients, CHEWs, champions, peer mobilisers, facility agents, health providers, local leaders, etc.) on how to create a safe working environment and mitigate risks of exposure by reinforcing infection prevention and control actions.  
Field Accommodation:
• All field staff must book lodging facilities approved by COVID-19 district taskforces.
• Ensure that the lodging facilities are effectively observing COVID-19 SOPs before checking in.
• Staff must avoid crowded lodging facilities.
• It is advisable for staff to carry their own towels and other sanitary items to minimize infections.
• Where possible spray door handles, tables and commonly used surfaces regularly.
Staff responsibility  Considerations while away from work  • Observe all government COVID19 restrictions and guidelines including social distancing, wearing masks, regular hand washing/ sanitizing
• Avoid crowded places at all times
• If working from home and need to come to office, seek approval from your supervisor/ Head of Department
• When you or a member of your household gets into contact with COVID-19 case or suspect, always ensure that you:
– Self isolate
– Report to the National Task Force using the toll-free lines provided in support of community surveillance and testing
• When in contact with a Covid 19 case, please Contact HR or a member of the PHAU SMT to facilitate your access to care.  

III.        PHAU RISK ASSESSMENT AND SUGGESTED MITIGATION MEASURES

POTENTIAL RISK AREA  RISK LEVELSUGGESTED MITIGATION MEASURES
STAFF RELATED RISKS  
Exposure to Covid-19 during field activities. • Use of Public transport, Field accommodation, restaurants • Field work in implementation districts and border areas. • Close Interaction with community stakeholders and structures, health providers, district members, field volunteers etc.  High  -Staff should avoid border districts and hotspot districts where possible
-Staff will be provided with PPEs and hand sanitizer -PHAU will make deliberate efforts to reduce or control frequency of staff movement to the field.
-PHAU will explore facilitation of community stakeholders (including clients, CHEWs, champions, peer mobilisers, facility agents, health providers, local leaders, etc.) and district staff to perform, coordinate and monitor some activities.
– PHAU will work to see that as much work as possible that can be done remotely is actually done remotely.  
Hostile population (including community political leaders) who may look at PHAU staff as potential source of infection.  High  -PHAU will limit activities that may require staff interaction with the wider community. -Secure authorization from community leaders prior to any activity.
Unusual driving conditions – either fewer vehicles on the road resulting in people driving faster and more carelessly or attempts to beat curfew leading to unsafe driving.High  -Flexibility of the office closing time to allow staff leave office early in order to beat the curfew
-Flexibility of staff working remotely and only having to report to office if and when needed.  
PROGRAM RELATED RISKS  
Data fraud due to limited monitoring by PHAU staff. Providers and Field volunteers might be tempted to falsify data to justify PHAU continuous support.High  -Increase the frequency of Spot checks and joint support visits especially during events, outreaches
-Continuous Data verification by field staff and M&E department using different platforms and remote avenues i.e. phone calls
Financial Fraud. This can be by staff, providers or field volunteers. Because of the financial pressure brought by this pandemic, there are high chances of staff, providers or field volunteers being ‘creative’ with their financial accountabilities.  High  -Rigorous verification of all accountabilities by supervisors and finance staff.
– Increase the frequency of Spot checks
– Deeper analysis of all advance requests before approvals.
– Use of the Bell weather platform for making and approval of all requisitions.
– Use of the Beyonic payment platform to make all the financial based beneficiary refunds and monetary transfers to staff and field volunteers.
– Requirement that all requisitions should have a detailed concept note attached to it describing the planned activity and beneficiaries.
– Requirement that each accountability must have a report attached to it that clearly details the activity particulars and outcomes.  
Failure to achieve program targets • Limited field movements. • Stock out of essential SRHR products because of lockdown. • Low turn up during events because of fear by targeted population  High  – Continuous monitoring and revision of field strategies to cope with changes
– Correct and effective following of national SOPs and guidelines
– Continue with activities that do not require crowd pulling e.g. radio programming, use of potable speakers.
– Work with community-based IPs for steady supply of SRHR products and sustainable community reach
– Target facilities/ districts with potential to give more numbers.  
Staff inefficiency and reduced productivity  Moderate– Use of online platforms such as Microsoft (office, teams, calendar, drive, etc.) as a planning and performance measure tool
– Requirement that each activity requisition must have a concept note attached to it clearly giving justification for why and how this activity is going to be carried out.
– Requirement that an activity report that clearly details the activity particulars and outcomes be submitted to the supervisor for review no later than 2 days (maximum) after implementation.
– All staff to contribute towards our social media pages and other/ different platforms with content from their field visits/interactions/engagements.
– All staff to make an action plan for the forecasting of their activities 2 weeks in advance of the intended activity via Microsoft teams.
-All departments to hold a weekly update meeting with its members to allow for proper planning and coordination  
Community tension • Increased community tensions due to anticipated delays in payments which could possibly lead to conflict.  High  – Use of the Beyonic payment platform to make all the financial based beneficiary refunds and monetary transfers to staff and field volunteers
– Timely submission of supportive Documents to Finance for payment once an activity has been concluded  
High Cost pertaining to COVID19 restrictions, impact and DALYsHigh  – Finance department to benchmark adjustments and recommendations made by other organizations /IPs
– PHAU Staff with access to private vehicles to car pool with 2 others if and when needed at office
– Facilitation of PHAU staff with extra airtime and internet data to allow remote working and continued implementation.
– Picking and dropping of PHAU staff where need be.
– Adhering to the national COVID 19 restrictions including those around travel, work, convening, and service provision.  
Staff exposed to the coronavirus while at work  Moderate-Work within an established COVID-19 Task Force
-Prompt identification of staff suspected of or tested positive of COVID19 with support from other hot spot areas e.g. Front desk
-Isolate staff suspected of having COVID-19
-Inform MoH of suspected case -Inform staff relatives of suspicion – By HR and SMT
-Contact health provider/insurer as per PHAU health care policy

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