Humanitarian Action for Children
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children appeal helps support the agency’s work as it
provides conflict- and disaster-affected children with access to water, sanitation, nutrition,
education, health and protection services. Return to main appeal page.
- Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, nutrition emergency and emerging and recurrent disasters, women and children in Pakistan require urgent assistance. As of 30 September 2021, there have been 1,245,127 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the global acute malnutrition rate is 18 per cent.
- UNICEF’s COVID-19 response prioritizes supporting health and nutrition service continuity by empowering health workers with training and equipment; providing timely/accurate information; promoting behaviors that reduce risk and limit transmission; facilitating infection prevention and control; supporting learning continuity; and implementing child protection services including psychosocial support.
- UNICEF is also responding to the protracted nutrition emergency with curative and preventive life-saving services, including community management of acute malnutrition; maternal, infant and young child health; and infant and young child feeding services.
- UNICEF requires US$69.5 million to provide life-saving response, mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and ensure emergency preparedness and response for potential emergencies.
Key planned results for 2022
852,704 primary caregivers receiving infant and young child feeding counselling
2.5 million people reached with hand-washing behaviour-change programmes
250,000 children / caregivers accessing mental health and psychosocial support
691,079 children accessing educational services
Funding requirements for 2022
Country needs and strategy
Since 25 February 2020, Pakistan has experienced four waves of COVID-19 cases, and as of 30 September 2021, there have been 1,245,127 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including over 1,169,566 patients who have recovered and been discharged, and 27,729 deaths.
UNICEF’s response focuses on high-burden districts with the largest number of COVID-19 positive cases. In 2022, UNICEF will prioritize prevention of COVID-19 transmission and continuity of essential services to avoid additional morbidities and mortalities, particularly among women and children.
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) infrastructure, as part of the response to COVID-19, remains a priority in communities and institutions. Without appropriate and operational WASH facilities/services in schools and healthcare centres and support for handwashing facilities in communities, children will be at risk of COVID-19 and other preventable diseases, including diarrhea, typhoid, cholera and polio.
While efforts in safe school opening and operation have been done, and schools have reopened, approximately 1 million children (especially girls) are estimated to have dropped out due to the pandemic, adding to the existing 22.8 million out-of-school-children.
Pakistan is also seeing a rise in child protection risks in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, including abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation, gender-based violence, psychosocial distress and mental health challenges, as well as a resort to harmful practices like child marriage and child labour. Gender discrimination and societal norms may place girls at additional risk, including to forms of sexual violence. Children with disabilities may experience increased vulnerability due to disrupted access to essential health, education and child protection services.
Pakistan is facing a protracted nutrition emergency. The national global acute malnutrition rate is nearly 18 per cent, exceeding the internationally agreed emergency threshold of 15 per cent. If urgent action is not taken, this will lead to rising mortality rates among children under 5 years of age. According to the Lancet report, wasting is the major single cause of increased child mortality, estimated at 18 per cent.
Pakistan also suffers from the impact of recurrent natural shocks (earthquakes, floods, drought and epidemics), human-induced crises and potential humanitarian crises due to spillover effects from regional insecurity. Strengthened preparedness and risk reduction measures are critical to curtail losses and support effective responses to potential emergencies.
In Pakistan, COVID-19 is being managed by a multipronged approach which includes response to the pandemic and mitigating its impacts. Through community engagement and communication, effort is being made to efficiently coordinate, generate evidence, and provide timely and accurate gender-sensitive information for positive behaviours and to reduce risk, and limit transmission. Water and sanitation programme will support infection prevention and control in health facilities and schools with gender-appropriate and disability-friendly WASH services, and increase communities' knowledge and practice of handwashing. In support to the Government's efforts, UNICEF will source and procure quality essential medical supplies for COVID-19 response and support vaccine deployment. Child protection systems will be strengthened and capacity of front-line workers/partners on the prevention/response to violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation, gender-based violence and harmful practices, including providing psychosocial support to children and families and preventing COVID-19-related stigma will be enhanced. UNICEF will continue to strengthen prevention and response to sexual exploitation and abuse through capacity building of partners, expanding reporting, and intensifying awareness raising. UNICEF will support continuity of learning and safe school reopening, including through parents’ mobilization, capacity building of teachers on safe school operations and mental health and psychosocial support services (MHPSS), encouraging teachers’ vaccination, provision of supplies to minimize infection risk, take-home learning packs and tech-based learning initiatives. UNICEF will work with the Government to build a more resilient health system in the country to manage and refer cases of COVID-19. UNICEF support will also contribute to continuity of life-saving essential primary healthcare services with more focus on maternal, neonatal and child health and immunization.
UNICEF will work with the Government at various levels to support timely and quality severe acute malnutrition (SAM) treatment and reduce morbidity and mortality due to wasting through existing health systems, using a community-based management of acute malnutrition approach. Key interventions will include enhancing the capacity of front-line healthcare providers in case finding and referral, and promoting infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices in high-burden SAM/COVID-19 districts. Outreach/mobile services will be supported where static health facilities are not available, alongside preventive healthcare measures through IYCF counselling and multi-micronutrient supplementation to children under 5 years of age. UNICEF will also strengthen national and sub-national capacities for disaster risk reduction, mainstream disaster preparedness and response across all sectors, maintain contingency stocks for floods, drought and earthquakes and other humanitarian crises, and prepare for and respond to potential regional crises and population movements.
Humanitarian Action is at the core of UNICEF’s mandate to realize the rights of every child. This edition of Humanitarian Action for Children – UNICEF’s annual humanitarian fundraising appeal – describes the ongoing crises affecting children in Pakistan; the strategies that we are using to respond to these situations; and the donor support that is essential in this response.