Updates from the field #17: Scaling up the fight against COVID-19
Below, we highlight what UN teams across the world are doing to strengthen the fight against COVID-19 as of 10 July 2020.
In Azerbaijan, there are currently more than 22,000 cases, over 13,500 recoveries, and more than 250 deaths due to COVID-19.
The UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Ghulam Isaczai, is supporting the country’s COVID-19 response, engaging regularly with the government’s task force on COVID-19, providing technical advice to the health sector and strengthening risk communication capacities.
The World Health Organization (WHO) implemented a programme to temporarily bring Azerbaijani doctors residing in Turkey back to Azerbaijan to boost clinical capacity at local hospitals.
WHO, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) distributed more than 100,000 personal protective equipment, test kits, ventilators, thermometers, and disinfectants. These supplies were procured through a funding partnership between the UN, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the European Union.
The UN has also been working closely with the Government on boosting risk communication capacities, ensuring verified information are circulated through the media.
In Benin, which has more than 1,200 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including more than 300 people having recovered and more than 20 people passed away, the UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Siaka Coulibaly, has been working closely with the Government to support the health and socio-economic responses to the pandemic.
We provided nearly $750,000 worth of equipment – such as personal protective devices, handwashing stations, and soap – to hospitals and schools across Benin. Health-related equipment, which were received by the Minister of Health, consisted of personal protective equipment for health workers as well as tents for COVID-19 treatment centres. The Minister of Primary Education received 7,000 handwashing stations, soaps and water storage cans to assist primary schools across the country during the school re-opening period.
The UN is also supporting the Government with creating digital, remote-learning solutions to strengthen physical distancing and measures to reduce the spread of infection.
In the Dominican Republic, there are more than 37,000 confirmed cases of the virus, and nearly 800 deaths. Led by Resident Coordinator Mauricio Ramirez, the UN team has supported the government’s response on all fronts.
On health, WHO and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) signed a letter of agreement with the government to develop a seroprevalence study to understand and ultimately reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the country. UNICEF has provided 12 ventilators for local hospitals while UNAIDS is working to ensure that people living with HIV continue to receive antiretroviral drugs.
To protect livelihoods in small farming communities, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) helped in procuring masks, latex gloves and sanitizing gel for agriculture ministry staff so they can continue to go out and support small agricultural producers. FAO and the World Food Programme (WFP) have organized a virtual training on vegetable farming for young people to generate additional income. WFP has also provided food assistance to more than 11,000 children under the age of 5, pregnant women, older people and those living with HIV.
To support the most vulnerable, UNICEF donated computers to an office that was set up for combating cyber-crime and online violence against minors. UNDP, UNICEF and WHO have donated thousands of masks to organizations supporting people with disabilities and to government staff working with migrants, including those on the border with Haiti.
The UN is helping to plan the socioeconomic recovery process, and this includes the reopening of schools with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UNICEF, together with the Ministry of Education, designing psychological support programmes for children on the impact of COVID-19.
There are more than 6,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 100 deaths in Haiti. The Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the country, Bruno Lemarquis, and the UN country team are working with authorities to address the many challenges brought about by the virus in Haiti.
The UN is supporting a multipronged response, including on the health emergency, under the coordination of PAHO and WHO; on the escalated humanitarian situation, under the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs' (OCHA) coordination, and the socio-economic response, under the technical lead of UNDP.
The UN Haiti team has helped to set up advanced triage stations and isolation rooms in six departments and to renovate quarantine zones at three border areas. The UN has also strengthened local testing and tracing capacity. This included provisioning thousands of supplies to the National Public Health Laboratory as well as supporting the Haitian Institute of Statistics and Information in the development of a digital solution for contact-tracing.
The UN has also helped to procure and distribute more than 42,000 items of personal protective equipment, as well as providing water, sanitation and hygiene supplies to 21 correctional facilities in order to reduce the spread of infection in prisons.
To help the most vulnerable people, we have coordinated communication campaigns on gender-based violence and the rights of older people, people living with HIV and migrants – especially those on the border with the Dominican Republic This included provisioning thousands of supplies to the National Public Health Laboratory as well as supporting the Haitian Institute of Statistics and Information in the development of a digital solution for contact-tracing.
In Kazakhstan, the UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Norimasa Shimomura, is focusing on saving lives and livelihoods, while also providing technical advice on a safe and gradual reopening.
New UNICEF guidelines are helping to ensure the right of every child to education, health and safety while returning to school. School closures have also increased the burden of unpaid work at home for women. UN Women and the UNFPA found that, while men have spent more time caring for children and older family members, they were much less focused on daily domestic chores. The amount of time women spend on these chores has jumped from 18 to 41 per cent during the pandemic in Kazakhstan.
For its part, WHO is working to reduce the impact of the virus on sexual reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services. We are also providing legal assistance to more than 1,500 migrants and their families and has trained 1,000 civil servants to help vulnerable people.
Also, the UN-backed toll-free hotline for COVID-19 information has increased its channels to address the growing demand. In support of our Verified initiative, with support from UNESCO, the team has trained 40 editors and journalists on addressing misinformation with tips for fact-checking.
From Peru, which has more than 285,000 confirmed cases and over 9,600 deaths due to COVID-19, our UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Igor Garafulic, has supported authorities on the health front and is now focusing on the social and economic response and recovery.
The UN has donated 15,000 COVID-19 tests and helped with the purchase of 2.5 million masks. The team has also gathered $1 million in donations for lab supplies, protective equipment and 15,000 testing kits.
A UN-backed digital platform has brought together 20,000 volunteers to help older people and people with disabilities receive Government's cash transfers.
The UN is also advising authorities on supporting people living with HIV, sex workers, migrants, the LGBTI community, inmates and minors deprived of liberty, survivors of violence, indigenous peoples and people with disabilities, among others. The UN is also carrying out communication campaigns in several languages targeted to indigenous peoples.
Our team is also working with journalists and social media influencers to curb the spread of misinformation.