UNICEF and USAID celebrate the successful completion of a three-year partnership for COVID-19 pandemic response in Kosovo

09 February 2024

Prishtina, 2 February 2024 - UNICEF Kosovo, in collaboration with USAID Kosovo, marked the successful conclusion of a three-year partnership for "COVID-19 Pandemic Response,"  aligned with the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan. This partnership brought significant results including:  ensuring uptake of COVID-19 vaccinations; strengthening the health system; and minimizing the secondary effects of the pandemic by ensuring access to education and protection services for the most vulnerable children and families.

Present at the closing event were representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Mission Director of USAID in Kosovo, Ms. Eileen Devitt, the Head of UNICEF in Kosovo, Ms. Nona Zicherman, the advisor to the Minister of Justice, Ms. Vlora Limani, civil society representatives, parents and children.

The scale of the COVID-19 crisis was unprecedented, challenging governments to reach their populations with vaccines and critical health services while also addressing the economic and social impacts of the pandemic. Since its onset UNICEF, with the generous support of USAID Kosovo, worked closely alongside the Ministry of Health and other Kosovo institutions to prevent transmission and and ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines, while strengthening the health care system.

Key results of the UNICEF-USAID partnership included reaching 1.1 million people with risk communication materials, distributing essential hygiene supplies to 240 health centers and 7,750 families, and equipping 660 schools with hygiene kits. Other activities included distribution of protection kits to 2,200 teachers and 7,700 first-grade students, as well as establishing 4 temporary testing sites and 30 new vaccination sites in locations throughout Kosovo.

The partnership between USAID and UNICEF also facilitated the delivery of over 1,4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses through COVAX, and contributed to Kosovo’s achievement of a 62% vaccination rate for the 12+ population. Kosovo’s cold chain infrastructure was strengthened with procurement and installation of 16 ultra-low temperature freezers, 5 freezer rooms, and a cold room, and installation of 270 new vaccine refrigerators at Family Medicine Centers across Kosovo. To support vaccine delivery the partnership played a crucial role in developing Kosovo’s National Risk Communication plan, training 1,238 health workers, conducting 147 awareness campaigns, and reaching 4.1 million people online.

UNICEF, USAID and Kosovo institutions recognized that this pandemic was not just a health crisis but a child rights crisis, with significant impacts on children’s education, access to social services, and overall well-being. With the support of USAID, UNICEF and its partners were able to go beyond health response, taking a human rights focus to ensure access to integrated quality social services and promote the social inclusion of the most vulnerable children and families.

Key results included creation of 59 municipal Prevention Response Teams to address school drop-out, equipped 15 resource classrooms in schools for children with disabilities, supported eight learning centers benefiting 830 children from Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities, and enabled one-to-one community-based rehabilitation services for 920 children with disabilities.

UNICEF, together with its partners, remains committed to sustain the positive impact of this project, and will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure inclusive, quality health, education and protection services reach the most vulnerable families in Kosovo.

Media contacts

Dafina Zuna
Head of Communications
UNICEF Kosovo Programme


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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