Getting ready

 The CommunityFirst COVID-19 Roadmap is a planning tool to support communities to organize, prepare and sustain their responses to COVID-19.

Learn to use the Roadmap 

  • Follow the steps in the Roadmap to create a plan for your community
  • Download the Action Plan and use it as:
    • an outline to develop your plan
    • a checklist to track your progress 
  • Add or remove steps as relevant to your community 
  • Review the resources in every step to see  infographics, guides and community action examples
  • Use the Resource Database to search for additional materials 

Review customized CommunityFirst COVID-19 plans and adapted Roadmaps 

Appoint a CommunityFirst COVID-19 Committee

  • Establish the priorities of the committee and agree on the roles of its members
  • Designate individuals (or sub-committees) responsible for the following areas: 
    • Communications 
    • Coordination with health authorities and humanitarian actors 
    • High-risk and vulnerable groups 
    • Hygiene kits and PPE
    • Mental health
    • Vaccine awareness
  • Create a virtual group for the committee


1. Are there COVID-19 cases:

  • In your country? 
    • Focus on ORGANIZE
  • Near your community?
    • Focus on PREPARE
  • In your community? 
    • Focus on RESPOND

2. Identify resources, knowledge and skills within the community

  • Medical and psychological personnel 
  • Traditional medicine
  • Crafts: e.g. textiles (for masks), soap-making
  • Community spaces 
  • Communication platforms: radio, social network groups, loudspeakers
  • Community networks 
  • Food and water, sanitary materials

3. Coordinate with health authorities and other relevant actors

  • Identify the gaps
  • Understand the capacity of the local health centre(s)
  • Identify humanitarian actors and the support they can provide
  • Establish the terms of the relationship with humanitarian actors
  • Understand the national and local health authorities’ COVID-19 response and vaccine roll-out plans (if existing)

4. Protect your community

  • Monitor travel in and out of the community
  • Screen newcomers for the presence of symptoms and recent contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Refer anyone with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and/or a positive contact history for evaluation, preferably by a healthcare professional 
  • Designate individuals able to leave the community to get essential items.

5. Identify high-risk and vulnerable groups

  • High-risk: 
    • Elders and older people 
    • Immunocompromised people 
      • E.g. people with cancer (especially if undergoing chemotherapy)
    • People with comorbidities, especially: 
      • Chronic kidney disease
      • Chronic lung disease 
      • Diabetes
      • Heart disease 
      • Hypertension
      • Obesity 
      • Tuberculosis 
  • Vulnerable:
    • Indigenous peoples
    • LGBTQ+
    • Migrants
    • Survivors of sexual and gender-based violence 
    • People in detention 
    • People living with HIV/AIDS
    • People experiencing homelessness
    • People who use drugs
    • People with disabilities 
    • Women and girls 
    • Youth

6. Communicate COVID-19 information

  • Raise awareness about symptoms, prevention and mental wellness
  • Combat myths, stigma and rumours
  • Use infographics, radio and social media groups 
  • Prioritize communications to high-risk groups
  • Work with local influencers  
  • Translate into local languages

See additional resources on health promotion

7. Share key vaccine information

  • Conduct community survey on vaccine confidence 
  • Create safe spaces to address people’s concerns: 
    • Why vaccines are important and how they work
    • Benefits and risks of vaccination to the individual and the community

8. Provide food and essential items

  • Support a local store(s) to remain open for food and essential items 
  • Assemble and deliver food baskets for vulnerable people 
  • Provide hygiene kits containing masks, soap and disinfectant
  • Make a list of essential community services

9. Supply water and sanitation

  • Encourage frequent hand-washing. 
  • Increase access to hand-washing stations and soap
  • If water is limited, develop local alternatives
  • Maintain waste management systems


1. Review health measures

  • Stay up-to-date with national and local health authorities’ COVID-19 responses and vaccine roll-out plans 
  • Ensure that gaps are filled 
  • Identify any new gaps

2. Secure Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Provide PPE for all community workers.

3. Train COVID-19 community workers

  • Provide training in: 
    • Health promotion
    • Case detection 
    • Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) 
    • Contact tracing
    • Psychosocial support
  • Where possible, train community workers to do virtual community health work.

4. Support high-risk and vulnerable groups

  • Ensure people with comorbidities can get treatment and support
  • Provide food and essential items
  • Support mental health and wellbeing

See Resource Database for resources to support specific high risk and vulnerable groups:

5. Adapt community life to respect health protocols

  • Adapt public spaces and workplaces 
  • Adapt weddings, funerals, burials, religious services and other community gatherings
  • Favour gatherings outside with mask-wearing and physical distancing  
  • Support safe protesting

6. Equip community members

  • Encourage mask-wearing, frequent hand-washing and physical distancing 
  • Encourage people to increase ventilation by opening windows 
  • Provide hygiene kits to each household with essential supplies 
  • Offer tips to prevent and recover from infection at home 
  • Provide information on when to seek in-person medical attention
  • Support parents and caregivers with young children

7. Prepare isolation/quarantine

  • Prepare homes for isolation of household members with COVID-19
  • Repurpose community spaces to isolate people with COVID-19 (e.g. schools, hotels and churches)

8. Mobilize community assets

  • Use community resources, knowledge and skills for COVID-19 prevention activities: i.e. mask-making, soap-making, outdoor theatre & music 
  • Mobilize community social networks to foster connection and solidarity

9. Prepare community for COVID-19 vaccine rollout

  • Continue to hold information sessions as needed about COVID-19 vaccines
  • Combat myths, stigma and rumours related to COVID-19 vaccines
  • Ensure healthcare workers and high-risk groups have priority access to vaccines 
  • Share information about where and when vaccination will take place and how community members can sign up
    • Include information about the 2nd dose as required


1. Follow up with health authorities and other relevant actors

  • Maintain COVID-19 and other essential health services 
  • Ask health authorities and humanitarian actors to fill gaps 
  • Stay up-to-date with national and local health authorities’ COVID-19 responses and vaccine roll-out plans

2. Detect COVID-19 cases

  • Create a virtual alert network
  • Train community workers to conduct COVID-19 screenings 
  • Refer people whose screenings are positive to the health centre for clinical evaluation and testing
  • Prioritize PCR/antigen testing for essential workers and vulnerable populations

3. Isolate suspected COVID-19 cases

  • Suspected cases should isolate at home or in a designated isolation centre
  • Suspected cases must keep physically distant and wear a mask at all times
  • Anyone in direct contact with a suspected case must wear a mask 
  • Provide support for people in isolation

4. Trace contacts

  • Advise all contacts of each case (suspected* or confirmed) to quarantine in line with local public health guidelines

5. Keep up prevention measures

  • Continue to encourage mask-wearing, frequent hand-washing and physical distancing

6. Support mental health and wellness

  • Continue to provide resources to support mental health and wellness
  • Ensure access to virtual crisis support centres

See the resource database for additional mental health resources

7. Access online health support

  • Facilitate access to: 
    • Psychosocial care
    • Clinical follow-up 
    • Water and sanitation guidance
    • Logistics support  


1. Coordinate with health authorities and other relevant actors

  • Keep informed about local public health responses
  • Resume regular clinical and mental health services with safety protocols

2. Adjust community protection measures

  • Assess whether the community can be open to inter-community travel 
  • Continue to screen newcomers for symptoms/recent contact with a person with COVID-19 
    • Refer anyone with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and/or a positive contact history for evaluation, preferably by a healthcare professional

3. Maintain personal protection

  • Avoid poorly ventilated public places
  • Encourage mask-wearing, hand-washing and physical distancing 
  • Evaluate activities by level of risk 
  • Maintain mental and physical wellness

4. Communicate COVID-19 information

  • Use infographics 
  • Combat myths, stigma and rumours
  • Prioritize communications to high-risk groups 
  • Share key information about COVID-19 vaccines
  • Use radio and social media groups 
  • Translate into local languages

5. Continue to protect high-risk and vulnerable groups

  • Prioritize testing 
  • Support mental health and wellbeing
  • Ensure treatment and care for community members with co-morbidities

6. Modify community life

  • Adapt workplaces to protect employees 
  • Adapt public spaces and community gatherings

7. Support mental health and wellness

  • Continue providing mental health resources
  • Provide psychosocial support to vulnerable groups, those who have lost loved ones, as well as current and former COVID-19 patients (who may have lasting effects or ongoing symptoms)