Updates from the field #14: Leaving no one behind during COVID-19
UN Resident Coordinators and their teams are scaling up efforts across 162 countries and territories to ensure that no one is left behind during this global pandemic. UN teams are working together with governments and partners to secure the health and safety of the most vulnerable populations.
Today we highlight some of the coordinated responses from countries across the globe as of 12 June 2020.
In Chad, there are currently more than 830 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 70 deaths in the country, and the UN team, led by the Resident Coordinator Violet Kakyomya, has been working with the Government and partners to tackle the health, humanitarian and socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic.
Together with the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN helped broadcast public health service announcements in 17 languages across 20 community radio stations. The team has also trained more than 700 people to carry out community outreach on health and sanitation issues.
The World Food Programme (WFP) for its part has donated 12 mobile tents with a capacity of up to 100 beds to the Health Ministry. With funding of some $22 million from the World Bank, WFP is also providing 17,000 metric tonnes of food for three months to eight provinces (Batha, Bahr el-Ghazal, Guéra, Kanem, Lac, Logone Oriental, Logone Occidental and Wadi Fira).
Thanks to funding from the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is supporting 20,000 households in eight provinces by providing seeds and agricultural equipment.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has also donated 30 computers and 30 modems to strengthen the Ministry of Health’s capacity to collect communication and data.
In Kazakhstan, there are presently more than 13,000 cases of COVID-19 and 61 deaths. The UN team, led by the Resident Coordinator, Norimasa Shimomura, is responding to the health needs as well as addressing the pandemic’s impact on livelihoods and the economy.
At the Government’s request, WHO has allocated nearly $3 million for lab equipment and more than 120,000 items of personal protective equipment for frontline health workers. WHO is leading the UN’s efforts to gather lessons learned from the response to the virus in order to help other countries stay ahead of the curve as the region prepares for a potential second wave of infection. WHO is also training and sharing information among health workers on prevention and control, as well as case management of COVID-19.
The UN Children's Foundation (UNICEF) in Kazakhstan, along with the Government, is working to resume routine immunizations and on safely reopening schools in the autumn, all the while protecting children of migrants who were impacted by the pandemic.
For its part, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) has provided lifesaving assistance and legal support to nearly 700 migrants and their families. It has also set up a hotline for vulnerable migrants who are at risk of human trafficking.
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) led a survey of 2,000 small- and medium-sized business to assess the impact of the pandemic, with strategies to resume businesses and encouraging the rehiring of employees.
The UN team continues to work with its partners to curb misinformation and to promote prevention campaigns through social and traditional media, as well as other outreach.
Currently, Kuwait has registered more than 33,000 confirmed cases of the virus and nearly 280 deaths. The UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Dr. Tarek Elsheikh, is working with the Government to protect vulnerable groups, including migrant workers.
The UN Migration Network provided recommendations to the Government on supporting workers during the pandemic. The UN has also conducted webinars on effective regulations for recruitment and placement of migrants to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. Also, the UN is supporting the Kuwait Human Rights Foundation on a declaration against hate speech and xenophobia towards migrant workers.
For its part, FAO, and the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) as well as the Economic Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) are working with authorities to fix broken supply chains, which is a huge challenge, as noted in the Secretary-General’s policy brief on food security.
The UN also conducted a socio-economic impact assessment of the double shock of the COVID-19 crisis and oil prices to support the Government's COVID-19 policymaking, holding a hackathon together with the World Bank on innovative business models for small and medium businesses.
To support education, the UNICEF and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are working with the Government on online and distance learning and school reopening measures, along with psychosocial support for teachers, parents and learners.
On the health response, WHO is supporting Kuwait’s participation in solidarity treatment trials for 250 cases. And, together with UNHCR, WHO has provided cash support and distributed personal protective equipment.
The UN team is boosting the participation of people with disabilities in a national campaign. So far, the effort has led to nearly 24,000 food baskets to vulnerable groups and workers, 50,000 face masks, 20,000 surgical masks, 40,000 gloves, 1,280 disinfectant boxes, 80 thermometers and 3,100 advocacy publications, including 1,700 for families of people with disabilities.
Moving on to Mauritania, where we are currently seeing more than 1,100 cases of the virus and 63 deaths, the UN team there, led by Resident Coordinator Anthony Ohemeng-Boamah, has been working with the Government and its partners to flatten the curve and support people whose lives have been disrupted due to the pandemic.
WHO is moving to increase testing capacity from 200 to 500 per day. It has also set up a dialysis service in the emergency unit of the national COVID-19 treatment centre and has given $100,000 worth of medicine and lab supplies.
With washing hands and keeping physical distance, among others, essential to curbing the spread of the disease, the UN continues to support the national prevention campaign.
UNICEF helped to set up a toll-free virus hotline that has processed more than half a million calls to date. They tell us that they have reached out to more than 1,500 households on risk management and provided personal protective equipment to more than 900 community volunteers who conduct door-to-door outreach initiatives.
In Zimbabwe, the UN team, led by the Resident Coordinator, Maria Ribeiro, is helping the Government to address the triple threats posed by the virus, the severe drought and the lingering impact of Cyclone Idai last year. The country presently has 332 confirmed cases of the virus and four deaths, according to WHO.
To respond to the pandemic, the UN and our partners have appealed for US$800 million to help 5.6 million vulnerable people – or 40 per cent of the population – in the areas of food, health, water and sanitation, education, protection and shelter, among others. Only about 20 per cent of this appeal has been funded so far.
For its part, WHO in Zimbabwe is supporting the Government with COVID-19 surveillance and on addressing the declining rates of immunizations.
UNDP has shifted more than US$4 million from its HIV programme to the COVID-19 response and is supporting human rights monitoring and compliance by law enforcement. UNICEF and WHO are also supporting this time community-based health services, while UN Women and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) are working with NGOs to curb gender-based violence.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has facilitated the repatriation of nearly 6,000 Zimbabwean migrants from neighbouring countries, including more than 900 returnees in the past week alone. UNICEF, IOM and WHO are also working in facilities housing quarantined children returning to Zimbabwe.
WFP has helped nearly 1.5 million people with either cash or in-kind food distribution and it has transported personal protective equipment, as well as virus testing kits, thermometers and ventilators donated by the Jack Ma Foundation. FAO is also assessing the status of food security in the country.