How UNICEF is helping
UNICEF is working to slow the spread of COVID-19 and minimize its impact on children worldwide.
What is UNICEF doing to support children’s education during this time?
UNICEF is supporting governments for critical actions in preparedness and response for the COVID-19 outbreak, including ensuring that necessary preparedness actions are taken in schools; school children and teachers have the latest information; schools are operating safely; and where schools are closed, learning continues.
UNICEF Armenia in cooperation with National Center of Education Technologies (NCET) is currently seting up a 2nd studio to develop e - learning resources, including visual assets, to ensure continuity and sustainability of school students' learning experience. At the same time we will develop e-courses to strengthen digital skills among teachers.
What supplies have you delivered for the response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Since the start of the outbreak, UNICEF has shipped more than 4.27 million gloves, 573,300 surgical masks, 98,931 N95 respirators, 156,557 gowns and 12,750 goggles in support of countries as they respond to the pandemic.
Since 1 March, three shipments – weighing around 8 metric tons - of PPE supplies have successfully arrived in Tehran, Iran. Supplies have been distributed to hospitals and health facilities in six most affected provinces, with 18.5 tons of PPE items expected to arrive in the country in due course.
The first part of medical and hygiene supplies was delivered to the Ministry of Health of Armenia, Ministry of Social Affairs and to the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport.
Shipments of essential medical supplies will continue to be a key component of the UNICEF response to the pandemic.
How much money does UNICEF need for its response?
UNICEF has launched an urgent appeal for US $651.6 million to support its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This figure includes US $405 million designated to support response efforts in emergency countries which already have inter-agency humanitarian response plans. This funding will help UNICEF strengthen preparedness and response plans in countries with weaker healthcare systems, deliver essential healthcare and handwashing supplies to stop disease transmission, provide information to children and families on how to stay safe, and strengthen remote learning opportunities and protection systems.
In Armenia, UNICEF has issued a fundraising call for US$ 500,000 appealing to private sector companies, foundations, and individuals in the country and diaspora. Funding is needed to further support COVID-19 response in Armenia through provision of critical supplies and medical equipment, as well as through provision of much needed computer equipment to children and teachers for continuity of education.
Children are hidden victims of the corona virus pandemics. The consequences of the pandemic is already damaging their wellbeing and their future. Education is interrupted, parents are worried, outdoor activities banned, poverty looms, some children may not get proper treatment because the health system is overwhelmed. We need to act now !
How will you deliver on the commitments made in this response plan if your staff are working from home?
Where necessary, we have adopted different work modalities, including teleworking, to ensure both the safety of our staff and the continued operations of our programmes for children. Where needed, critical staff continue to report to the office.
To give you an example, our Supply Warehouse in Copenhagen is still open 7 days a week and continues to produce kits and process orders. The team there is working hard to increase access to COVID-19 supplies while continuing to support other ongoing emergencies and programme operations.
We are still in business and our work has never been more critical.
Concretely, how are you working to protect people living in refugee camps and displacement sites?
Children and families living in refugee camps, displacement sites or migration facilities, are particularly vulnerable to the spread of opportunistic diseases, especially when there is overcrowding and a lack of proper handwashing and sanitation facilities.
UNICEF and its partners are working on preventative actions in vulnerable communities across the affected countries – including those hosting refugees, and migrants and IDPs – with risk communication, providing hygiene and medical kits to schools and health clinics and monitoring the impact of the outbreak to support continuity of care, education and social services.
In Cox’s Bazar for example, UNICEF hygiene promoters are working to strengthen handwashing with soap at community level through community engagement (CCC-PLTH) and behaviour change methodologies based in previously identified barriers which prevent people from washing hands as well as motivators. UNICEF is also helping governments in countries like Greece, to develop preparedness and response plans to support refugee, displaced and migrant populations.
UNICEF continues to advocate for governments to ensure that refugee, migrant and displaced populations have equitable access to essential preventative and treatment services including healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and protection. UNICEF and its partners are adapting their programmes to keep migrant and displaced children learning through online tools and to provide MHPSS services to both children on the move and those who care for them.
What is UNICEF doing to support vaccination campaigns now?
Based on the current situation and recommended measures such as physical distancing, we think it best to temporarily suspend mass vaccination campaigns due to the increased risk of promoting the spread of the virus.
Health systems will already be burdened with fighting the COVID-19 outbreak, so health workers will be unlikely to achieve high coverage and quality. Countries should re-evaluate, at regular intervals the necessity to delay mass vaccination campaigns. This advice also applies to house-to-house campaigns.