Here are some of the testimonies we gathered to offer a snapshot of Kairouan during its darkest days of the pandemic so far.

Virus Spreads Due to Lack of Basic Health Resources

Kairouan is a largely rural governorate dependent on agriculture. Many people living in the countryside are entirely cut off from healthcare services, health insurance, transportation and online systems that have been key in the State’s Covid-19 response. Instead of getting physicians or ambulances to take care of their sick, they have often had to rely on family.

Meshkal/Nawaat met two women wearing cloth masks who had been sitting for hours on a bench outside the Ibn Jazzar hospital in downtown Kairouan. They were waiting for news about their 40-year-old sister-in-law.

We called for an ambulance but there was none…so we brought her in the back of a truck,

one of them told Meshkal/Nawaat.

The women, seasonal agricultural workers from the rural area of Nabch about 10 kilometers away, declined to give their names. They offered some explanation for why the infection spread so quickly: “We have sympathy for each other, so we rush to help out, without even considering protecting ourselves,” they said, explaining whole families get sick this way.