UNICEF responding to COVID-19 in India
India is being hit by a devastating new wave of COVID-19 cases. UNICEF is working with partners to support the response.
A deadly surge in COVID-19 cases has placed an enormous strain on health and critical care facilities in India, leaving vulnerable families paying a particularly steep price.
“Urgent action is needed to avert further tragic loss of life.”
UNICEF has already sent critical lifesaving supplies including oxygen concentrators, diagnostic tests and emergency equipment to help India in its battle with COVID-19. But more support is urgently needed to save lives.
This latest surge is a reminder that the pandemic is far from over and will continue to pose a threat to all of us unless we continue to work together and take life-saving preventive measures to contain it.
UNICEF is continuing to work with partners to:
- Increase access to life-saving oxygen by procuring and installing oxygen generation plants in hospitals to treat severe and critical COVID-19 cases
- Provide rapid, accurate testing machines in some of the most affected districts
- Support communities and essential workers to weather this storm and prevent further disruption to outreach programmes and services for children.
Join UNICEF to support lifesaving supplies and services to protect families and communities in India.
UNICEF and partners are doing everything they can to keep children and their families safe and healthy. UNICEF is delivering thousands of life-saving oxygen concentrators procured as part of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) initiative for the immediate response.
Working with partners, UNICEF has sent additional critical lifesaving supplies, including face shields and surgical masks, to keep frontline workers safe as they work around the clock responding to the surge in cases. In May 2021, UNICEF delivered 8.5 million triple-layered masks and 1.75 million face shields across the country.
UNICEF has supplied COVID-19 testing machines, which form a crucial part of the response to the pandemic.
UNICEF and partners have also supported the Government of India in the acceleration of its national vaccine rollout to equitably reach all population groups and continued to provide support in the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine communication strategy across the country, intensifying community engagement and social mobilization.
Vials of the COVID-19 vaccine have to be carefully packed at cold temperatures to ensure they remain effective when administered, part of the so-called cold chain – a series of precisely coordinated events in temperature-controlled environments to store, manage and transport these life-saving products. To support COVID-19 vaccinations in India and routine vaccination for children in the longer term, UNICEF has procured and supplied walk-in coolers, walk-in freezers, ice lined refrigerators, deep freezers, solar direct drive fridges, cold boxes, vaccine carriers including freeze-free vaccine carriers, and voltage stabilizers.
While providing urgent support to the healthcare system, UNICEF has also been assisting the Government of India in ensuring critical services for the most vulnerable children continue.
Since the start of the pandemic, UNICEF has been working with partners in India to help stop the spread of COVID-19, including by sharing information on how to stay safe from the coronavirus.
UNICEF has consistently worked to counter misinformation and promote COVID-19 appropriate behaviours, including wearing masks, physical distancing, and handwashing.
The latest surge is having dire consequences for children whose access to essential health, social, protection and education services is being constrained. Children are facing mental health issues and are at greater risk of violence as lockdowns shut them off from their vital support networks. They are missing out on lifesaving routine immunizations, critical care and treatment for pneumonia and other diseases.
The surge in South Asia isn’t confined to India, and threatens to reverse global gains against the COVID-19 pandemic and roll back hard-earned progress on child and maternal survival.
In Nepal, hospitals have been overwhelmed and there has been an acute lack of oxygen and other critical supplies. By late May, Sri Lanka was recording new highs in COVID-19 cases and deaths on a daily basis. In the Maldives, the health system has been under severe strain and the government has had to increase bed capacity in medical facilities.
UNICEF needs $126.7 million to assist 39 million children. This includes $117.2 million to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and $9.5 million to respond to other humanitarian crises, including natural disasters. UNICEF aims to protect children and their families from exposure to COVID-19, minimize the impacts of public health measures, address the socio-economic consequences, and maintain access and provision of basic social services.