UNICEF Philippines statement on COVID-19
MANILA, 13 March 2020 – Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration placing Metro Manila under lockdown from 15 March 2020 to 14 April 2020, UNICEF Philippines remains steadfast in working with the Philippine Government and partners to stop the transmission of the virus and to keep children and their families safe.
UNICEF Philippines has been fully supporting the Government’s emergency response as early as the first few cases of COVID-19 were identified in the country. Just recently, we provided tents to the Department of Health (DOH) to support the management of COVID-19 cases requiring hospital care.
DOH is further strengthening its capacity in hospital preparedness, rapid response, risk communication, and information dissemination with full support from UNICEF Philippines.
UNICEF is working with DOH to take appropriate measures for the continuous delivery of other essential public health services including access to water, sanitation and hygiene, mental health and psychosocial support, and nutrition.
“We are intent on staying on the ground working to mitigate impact on children and their families including pushing back against stigma associated with vulnerable groups,” said Wigdan Madani, UNICEF’s Chief of Health & Nutrition, “and we remain concerned by related control measures including school closures, the burden on local health systems for the delivery of primary care, protection risks, and economic pressures felt by families.”
With the suspension of classes in all levels within Metro Manila and in selected LGUs until 12 April 2020, UNICEF Philippines encourages schools to plan continuity for learning. We urge communities, caregivers, and parents to stay informed about COVID-19 through trusted sources like the DOH, local government units, WHO, and UNICEF to recognize symptoms, coordinate with schools to support safety efforts, and help children cope with the stress caused by the current situation.
Characterizing COVID-19 as a pandemic is not an indication that the virus has become deadlier. Rather, it is an acknowledgement of the disease’s geographical spread. Let’s continue to prepare and respond to the epidemic to protect children and families in the Philippines.
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.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in the Philippines, visit www.unicef.ph.