Updates from the field #11: Supporting governments in the fight against COVID-19

As the pandemic hits Madagascar and other countries, the World Bank Group and other organizations are stepping up to provide immediate support in order to quickly get resources to the front lines of fighting this disease.
Photo: World Bank/Henitsoa Rafalia

Learn how UN teams across the globe are working together to tackle COVID-19. Below, are some of the coordinated response efforts as of 22 May 2020.


In Armenia, where there are presently more than 5,000 confirmed cases of the virus, the UN team there, led by Resident Coordinator Shombi Sharp, has been supporting the Government’s plan to address the pandemic.  
The World Health Organization (WHO) is directly helping the Ministry of Health and is providing personal protection equipment, test kits and other supplies. UN experts are helping to ensure laboratories, hospitals and other facilities are prepared to respond to the pandemic. WHO also created an online portal to keep the public informed.  
To ensure that education continues, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have provided computers to the Ministry of Education so that vulnerable children can access distance learning. UNICEF is also working with the Government to train teachers and provide guidance. UNICEF also prepared and furnished a pavilion for E-school Armenia. 

Photo: UNICEF/Arthur Gevorgyan

In addition, International Labour Organization (ILO) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conducted a joint survey on the impact of COVID-19 on technical and vocational education and training. 
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is helping to retrain young people living in communities where jobs have been lost due to COVID-19 for remote work, while UNHCR is increasing its support for refugees through online language education and psychosocial support. In the framework of social protection and psychosocial support, UNICEF is rolling out a rapid assessment of social needs at the local level. ILO and UNDP are assessing the social and economic impacts of the pandemic. Also, UNDP is developing alternative income scheme to support the tourism industry and rapid-increase agricultural production schemes for farmers 
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and its partners are also distributing cash assistance to refugees and asylum seekers and the team is also helping with distribution, sending supplies to some 1,600 elderly people living alone in remote villages. 

As part of the supply chain, procurement, logistics and transport sector response, the World Food Programme (WFP) undertook procurement of health items such as gloves, medical gowns and medical suits, face shields, finger pulse oximeters, for around US$1 million on behalf of the World Bank and diaspora organizations. 

Cabo Verde

In Cabo Verde, where there are more than 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the Resident Coordinator, Ana Patricia Graça, and the Government are leading a Response and Recovery Coordination Platform. That effort brings together Government Ministries, civil society organizations, the private sector and international partners.  
As part of their call for solidarity, the UN staff in Cabo Verde have donated part of their salaries to support the Government’s efforts to address the impacts of the virus pandemic on the local population.  
And WHO is providing medical equipment and technical assistance to health workers, hospitals, and labs. UNICEF and UNFPA are providing tests and are ensuring the continuity of maternal and neonatal health services.  

For its part, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) equipped police officers with protective gear, while the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is supporting small industries to design, produce and sell medicine and personnel protection equipment. 

To address the social and economic impacts, ILO, UNICEF and UNDP are supporting social protection schemes for the most vulnerable population, through direct financial transfers totaling US$4,3 million. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is supporting agricultural and fisheries systems, to improve food production, collection and distribution. 
The UN team is also boosting job creation, with a special focus on youth and women. UNDP and UN-Habitat are also supporting local authorities to create temporary jobs in areas including revamping markets, streets and public works.  

UNICEF, UNESCO and UNFPA are supporting the education response, while UNODC, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UNFPA, UNICEF and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) are taking on a human rights-based approach to leave no one behind, focusing on women, youth, children, people with disability, people with addictions, migrants, etc. 
The UN team is also improving on innovation and technology solutions through UNDP’s Accelerator Labs, encouraging start-ups and crowdfunding platforms. 


In Kazakhstan, there are currently 6,400 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the UN team, led by the Resident Coordinator, Norimasa Shimomura, has been supporting the Government’s emergency health, risk communications and the socioeconomic response.   
WHO is conducting training sessions for healthcare workers on infection prevention and control, case management, and laboratories. It has also provided personal protective equipment, hygiene kits and test kits.  

The impact on maternal, neonatal care, is being addressed across the UN team. WHO’s guidelines have been promoted with the support of UNFPA and UNICEF. To address the socioeconomic dimension of the pandemic, the UN team, with technical leadership of UNDP, has launched a comprehensive impact assessment. The team has surveyed 12,000 people as part of the assessment.   

The UN team also has a youth apprenticeship scheme and is supporting civil servants telecommuting by developing digital solutions for distance learning and working. UN Women conducted an assessment on main challenges faced by women and men. For its part, IOM studied the implications on migrants and issued an Appeal for Central Asian countries. And, the UN teams' risk communications strategy has reached millions of people. 

Photo: UN Women/Almat Mukhamedzhanov

In line with the policy brief on COVID-19 impact on mental health, extra attention is paid on communication campaigns and information webinars for healthcare workers, education facilities, civil servants. The UN team organized 21 webinars for school psychologists with nearly 4,000 online participants. The number of users of the special national website on mental support developed jointly with UNICEF increased by 40 per cent. Also, UN staff members donated essential COVID-19 material for more than 80 families in several regions of Kazakhstan, including food and hygiene kits. 

UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Labor Organization
International Organization for Migration
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations Human Settlements Programme
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
World Food Programme
World Health Organization
Other entities involved in this initiative
World Bank
World Bank

Goals we are supporting through this initiative