COVID-19: Global Appeal
The Covid-19 pandemic is spreading rapidly in low- and middle-income countries, many of which have precarious health systems that are struggling to cope. The most vulnerable people are facing considerable – and growing – risks because of this crisis. Nearly three quarters of those living in the least developed countries do not have basic handwashing facilities. Additionally, social distancing measures are not possible in many densely populated urban areas, shantytowns and refugee camps.
COVID-19 IS HAVING AN IMMEDIATE AND CONSIDERABLE IMPACT ON HUNGER AND FOOD SECURITY
Beyond the direct effects, containment efforts will exacerbate vulnerabilities in countries where people are already experiencing food crises and other threats to their health and livelihoods.
If we do not take swift and comprehensive global action to support the most vulnerable communities, the repercussions risk turning this health crisis into a global food crisis. Indeed, estimates from the World Food Programme indicate that Covid-19 could push 265 million people into acute food insecurity by the end of 2020 – twice as many as in 2019.
Women are being hardest hit, as they represent 70% of the global health workforce3 and play an essential role in caring for sick relatives, thus significantly increasing their exposure to the virus. This is compounding the crisis because women also play a central role in ensuring food security, both in the household and in the community.
The pandemic and related containment efforts are shining a light on the deep inequalities in countries and communities.
At Action Against Hunger, we are leveraging our expertise in health, nutrition, water, hygiene and sanitation to fight this crisis. Our teams are working with our partners on the frontlines to reduce its spread and to provide support for the most at-risk groups. In addition, we are responding to the disproportionate impact that movement restrictions are having on the food security and livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations, working together with communities to strengthen social protection measures and safety nets to prevent hunger and further suffering.
To address both the immediate and longer-term consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic over the next two years, we estimate that we will need 200 million dollars.
This pandemic is a global crisis. It calls for a global response. With your support, we can save the lives and livelihoods of the most vulnerable populations in 46 countries across Asia, Africa, Central America, South America and Europe.
OUR RESPONSE – GLOBALLY
Thanks to your support, we are working with our local partners to respond to the pandemic in ways that complement and bolster the efforts of local governments. Our global response is structured around three axes:
We deliver and support the direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic
Urgent action to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and adapt existing programs to better respond to it.
Joining forces with our partners and local governments, we are reducing transmission as well as improving mitigation measures and surveillance of the outbreak. We are supporting health facilities to improve infection prevention and control. We are also ensuring the continuity of essential health services and providing critical health supplies.
Thanks to your support, we are carrying out mass awareness campaigns to ensure that people have the life-saving information they need to protect themselves and others from the virus. We provide crucial water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure, distribute hygiene kits, and reinforce handwashing and sanitation practices.
We are working with local governments to keep local travel and distribution routes open to aid relief efforts and so we can continue providing health services and adequate access to food to the most vulnerable communities. We are also distributing food and cash transfers to people in need.
Finally, we are ensuring that the direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic considers everyone’s needs, in particular the protection needs of women and girls.
We address the longer-term repercussions of the pandemic on the most vulnerable
Addressing the longer-term side effects of Covid-19
This crisis will significantly affect the health, food security and livelihoods of vulnerable communities. We must scale up our programs to prevent further suffering. This includes strengthening our understanding, and targeting, of the indirect impacts of the pandemic as well as building the resilience of health and food systems to support the recovery.
Many local actors who provide essential services are likely to be severely impacted by movement restrictions and disease containment efforts. We know that pandemics also compound existing inequalities and vulnerabilities, particularly gender inequality, which is a key driver of undernutrition that we must continue to address in our long-term response.
Collective action is crucial in overcoming the long-term consequences of the pandemic. We aim to expand our efforts to find effective and sustainable solutions through our continued work with local partners and key actors across civil society and local government.
We develop evidence-based approaches through interventional research
We are harnessing our renowned technical and research expertise to work collective with our partners and assess the direct consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic on hunger and malnutrition. This will inform our programming and help develop evidence-based approaches to support long-term recovery.
Indeed, to effectively address the effects of Covid-19, we need to better understand the long-term repercussions of disease containment measures on the food security, nutrition and health of an entire generation of children, as well as the wider population.
WHERE WE ARE RESPONDING
ANNEX – COUNTRY FOCUS
Country focus: India
To date, our teams have provided 100,000 face masks, 10,200 pairs of gloves and 9,700 bottles of hand sanitizer for frontline workers. We have helped implement mass awareness campaigns in 81 villages, trained staff in 20 local self-governing areas on prevention and safety measures and reached 5,800 individuals by phone for counselling and awareness.
The stringent lockdown and movement restrictions have pushed many vulnerable populations working in the informal sector into severe financial and food insecurity. This will have a lasting impact, with women and children experiencing the brunt of it. To fight this crisis, our teams have provided five tons of dry rations to vulnerable families, with plans to distribute 92 tons, and we are speeding up new programming to mitigate inequities immediately and in the long term.
Country focus: Peru
Our teams are distributing hygiene kits in shelters and health centres and implementing campaigns to promote contagion prevention measures. We are carrying out community surveillance in shelters for prevention, case identification, referral and monitoring. Thanks to your support, we are paying special attention to refugees and migrants suspected of contagion or with a positive diagnosis of Covid-19, to ensure their safe isolation in coordination with health authorities.
We support those most at risk with multipurpose cash transfers and the delivery of food rations to shelters and vulnerable families. At the same time, we are already developing a post-emergency recovery plan for those affected by the epidemic.
Country focus: Somalia
In Mogadishu, we are a lead health actor, coordinating with national structures and the World Health Organization to harmonize national and sub-national governance responses. We are providing support to the government’s emergency operations with vehicles, emergency staff, and contact tracing, as well as raising awareness about Covid-19 by disseminating materials through mass media, text messages and local radio stations.
We are also working to strengthen local capacity to respond to an upsurge in cases and to ensure service continuity. This includes providing essential health supplies, rapid training of healthcare workers, and advocacy efforts for an equitable distribution of medical supplies.
Country focus: Bangladesh
Our teams are working to enable access to safe drinking water, supply soap to health facilities, shelters and the community, and improve waste management. We have strengthened communications on hygiene and sanitation measures, installed water points for hand washing, and we are training staff in health facilities to ensure infection control.
We provide door-to-door food distributions to those most at risk and support local organizations in delivering food supplies to vulnerable people who are unemployed or unable to move freely due to lockdown measures. With a team of five psychologists, we also provide psychosocial support by phone, in collaboration with a local partner.
Help us scale up to stop the spread and save lives.