As the Covid-19 spreads to over 200 territories and countries. The United Nations is redoubling its support for frontline responders that are currently working to save lives.
“Healthcare Workers are essentially the major response pillars that we have,” said Jan-Eric Larsen. From Operations Support and Logistics in the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Western Pacific in a video tweet. “Without the healthcare employees, we won’t have the ability to stop this transmission in time.”
“The problem we are facing now is an extremely stretched market with limited supplies,” he said. Explaining that when folks use those supplies irrationally. It is going to create a strain on the health care system.
WHO has published operational advice for maintaining necessary health services during an outbreak. A handbook for public health capacity-building at cross-border and ground crossings collaboration.
With the pandemic wreaking effect on even rich nations’ healthcare potential. The question remains whether this huge outbreak can be handled by the world’s poorest countries with limited healthcare settings.
The pandemic is quickly moving into the global South. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned Friday at the joint briefing to the Member States by United Nations principle organs. Such as the Security Council, General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the UN Secretariat. Where he called for “massive international solidarity.”
COVID-19 poses severe challenges to the potential of health systems around the globe. Medical personnel is under pressure. Equipment and supplies are in huge demand. And in several cases, temporary health infrastructure is required to deal with the influx of patients needing specialized treatment.
United Nations Teams
UN country teams are strengthening their support for federal authorities. In Timor Leste, where one case has been confirmed. The United Nations is supporting government steps to protect against the COVID-19 outbreak. Advised by the WHO and Resident Coordinator, the Prime Minister recently ordered to establish an Inter-Ministerial Task Force for coordinated actions to fight against COVID-19.
The UN team is also siding with a range of partners. Such as civil society organizations, youth representatives, news outlets, businesses, and women leaders. For a whole-of-society approach to prevention, preparedness, and response against COVID-19.
In South Sudan, while there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases according to WHO figures. The UN team is working with authorities to support the national preparedness and response strategy for COVID-19. A lab with the capacity to test COVID-19 has been put up. The UN has supported the building of a multi-purpose contagious disease unit to isolate and treat cases suspected. Furthermore, health workers have been trained to improve surveillance and early detection. Examine suspected cases, and handle patients with COVID-19 related symptoms.
In Argentina, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is encouraging COVID-19 response efforts by helping to urgently secure 10 fully-equipped emergency modular segments, which will provide 824 additional inpatient treatment beds. One-third of this space will be reserved as intensive care units.
“Our team of qualified advisers, architects, engineers, project managers, and experts are eager to assist nations, where needed, to deal with their health-related infrastructure needs in this crisis,” stated Nick O’Regan, UNOPS Director of Implementation Practices and Standards.
UNOPS also stands prepared to support partners’ emergency procurement requirements through its universal e-commerce solution, UN Internet Buys Plus. This includes the supply of ambulances, mobile health clinics, transportable biosafety labs, and buildings, which may be utilized as temporary health posts.
In Guatemala, UNOPS is helping with the acquisition of medical items to diagnose, treat, and monitor patients infected with COVID-19. It is also apprising on mitigation efforts that will assist in making sure that the provision of current health care services continues as planned — including the purchase of required equipment and medicines.
In Afghanistan, UNOPS is working with the WHO to raise awareness and provide information on COVID-19 through a call center. In February, 144 calls were received by the center from 22 provinces. From 1 March to 14, it filed 185 inquiries about COVID-19 from 28 provinces.
Face Masks Are Donated To New York City
The United Nations is donating face masks to the healthcare professionals in New York City who have been working selflessly, courageously, and tirelessly in response to the spread of COVID-19. “To us, New York isn’t only our home or the headquarters of the United Nations,” Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement. “It’s a vibrant global capital by which the world communicates, trades, disagreements, and prospers.”
Research and Development (R&D)
WHO is also supporting COVID-19 research, bringing together 300 scientists, researchers, national public health specialists throughout the world on COVID-19 in February. To evaluate the present level of understanding of the new virus, agree on crucial research questions. That needs to be answered urgently and strategies to work together to accelerate and fund priority research which may contribute to curtail this outbreak and prepare for further outbreaks.
Experts identified research priorities and knowledge gaps, and shared scientific data on ongoing research, accelerating the creation of critical information to contribute to the control of the COVID 19 crisis.
WHO is gathering the knowledge and most recent scientific findings on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and placing it in a database.
Protecting Africa From COVID-19
As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has swept through Europe, Asia, and North America. Medical experts are warning, it is just a matter of time until Africa would see an exponential increase in cases. The United Nations is working hard to protect Africa from the COVID-19 onslaught that would result in massive losses of lives. And unprecedented economic and social harm.
The novel Coronavirus is now ready to move quickly into the growing world “in a hazardous manner” into regions that lack the resources to respond, so the UN is calling for massive global solidarity required to help those nations.
As of April 7, based on daily updates by the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 1,749 cases confirmed in South Africa, 364 in Burkina Faso, 287 in Ghana, 1,468 in Algeria, in Côte D’Ivoire, 237 in Senegal, 268 Mauritius, 238 in Nigeria, 658 in Cameroon, 68 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and 105 in Rwanda. Less than 50 cases were reported by other African countries.
In Kenya, where 172 cases of disease and 6 deaths have been confirmed, the United Nations and the Administration are working jointly to strengthen their preparedness and response for a further spread of the new Coronavirus(COVID-19).
“Suggestion to protect ourselves is clear: self-isolate if you feel unwell, wash your hands well and frequently, maintain social distance by avoiding public and crowded places and, also if your symptoms worsen, contact medical services,” said Siddharth Chatterjee, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kenya, and Mutahi Kagwe, the Cabinet Secretary for Health in Kenya, in a joint op-ed. “Just by following this advice rigorously can we hope to stem the tide of new infections.”
“In Sub-Saharan Africa as elsewhere, the pressure on the health care workforce will increase in the coming months,” they warn, emphasizing the importance of securing adequate amount supplies of protective gear, including gowns, gloves, and medical-grade face masks for use by health care personnel.
Even in the Nations, a lack of protective gear is currently causing a strain on nurses, physicians, and paramedics that are at the forefront of the struggle against COVID-19. “The problem in poorer countries will be worse.” They write, adding that the Government of Kenya, the United Nations, and the global community are exploring every avenue to ensure all the potential support for the healthcare professionals.
In Nigeria, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is helping awareness campaigns by health educators. In all 376 wards in the local government areas of Lagos State. Making up more than 14 million individuals, and similar programs in many parts of Nigeria, such as Delta State.
A campaign is underway to describe what Coronavirus is, its symptoms, mode of transmission, and strategies to prevent it. A team carried out simulations on how to cough or sneeze accurately into the elbow in public and how to wash hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. School kids were curious and excited to see that the handwashing demonstration.
The country is also struggling due to false information circulated. Which includes that the virus can’t survive in Africa due to the hot weather. That having a high dose of chloroquine medication can prevent the virus and that consuming large amounts of garlic and ginger can protect you.
Tanzania declared its first case on 16 March. A girl had traveled from Tanzania to Belgium on 3 March and returned on 15 March. The news quickly spread in the nation, and normal life seemed to change overnight, reported UN staff Stella Vuzo at Africa Renewal, a United Nations publication focused on that area.
In Dar-es-Salaam and other cities, people rushed to shops for stocking up on food products, beverages, and other items. Government authorities have continued to update residents on the virus. The Health Ministry has provided a hotline number to call in the case of symptoms. President John Magufuli has requested Tanzanians to help stop the disease from spreading.
“This disease is bad; I’m losing my customers quickly. I rely on selling food to feed my family and to pay for my rent. I am wondering how I will survive if people do not come to purchase due to this Coronavirus,” said a food vendor, Ms. Hassan. She’s not alone in this situation, with many other small-scale traders across the continent are facing this difficulty, the author writes.
In The Gambia, the UN team is working to support the preparedness of the Government program. As COVID-19’s third case confirmed in the country base on the latest statistics of WHO. WHO and the Resident Coordinator are monitoring the UN team’s efforts. With WHO strengthening surveillance and lab preparedness, while several UN entities are helping the Government’s communications attempts to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak.
Social Distancing & Handwashing Is Difficult in Africa
The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) is calling for aid in preparing for a health emergency, and for a subsequent financial fallout. The steps being taken in Europe, Asia, and North America, such as hand washing and social distancing, will be a challenge for nations with dense populations, limited internet connectivity, inadequate social safety nets, and unequal access to water.
“Africa may lose 50% of its gross domestic product (GDP). With growth falling from 3.2 percent to about 2% because of several reasons. Including the severance of global supply chains,” said Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in the mid of March.
Ms. Songwe further said that the continent’s interconnectedness to affected markets of China. The European Union and the US is causing ripple effects. She said the continent would require up to $10.6 billion in unexpected increases in health expenses to stop the virus from spreading. At the same time, on the other side, revenue losses could result in unsustainable debt.
Wealthier Countries Are Asked To Help
The ECA is calling the Group of 20 nations to support Africa in immediate health and human response. Deliver a direct emergency economic stimulus to African governments. In their efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and implement emergency measures to safeguard 30 million jobs. Directly at risk throughout the continent, especially in the airline and tourism sectors.
The ECA Quotes COVID-19 could lead to the export earnings of Africa from fuels falling at around $101 billion in 2020. Ms. Songwe said COVID-19 could reduce Nigeria’s overall exports of crude oil in 2020 by between $14 billion and $19 billion.
UN Peacekeeping Efforts Impacted
Africa hosts seven of the 13 UN peacekeeping missions. There are concerns that COVID-19 negatively affects the ability of those critical operations to fulfill their mandates. During a briefing to the Member States on 27 March, the Secretary-General stated that to support special political missions and peacekeeping operations. A Field Support Group developing solutions to support missions to deal with the health crisis when providing on their mandates. The United Nations, operating with troop-contributing nations, postponed rotations of troops, as transferring forces between countries during a global health pandemic is very risky.
The United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) has declared that caregivers have increased consciousness among the leadership of the nearly 28,000 internally relocated people staying at the UN protection site in Malakal on how to protect against an outbreak of the pandemic COVID-19 among themselves. Till now, there are no confirmed cases in the country.
UNMISS stated that as the youngest and one of the poorest countries. South Sudan is at high risk, provided the severely insufficient health services at its end. The densely populated protection places for internally relocated folks are of significant concern. Given that practicing social distancing in these surroundings is harder than in most other sites. However, it has to done to the greatest extent possible to keep everyone, including humanitarian workers, safe.
“As leaders of your community, your responsibility is to keep your people informed about prevention measures. From now on, it is our collaborative responsibility,” insisted Hazel Dewet, head of the UNMISS field office in Malakal.