Tuesday 31 March 2020
 
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Henrietta Fore

UNICEF appeals for $652m aid to fight COVID-19

NEW YORK, 5 days ago

In just a few months, COVID-19 has upended the lives of children around the world. Hundreds of millions are not in school. Parents and caregivers have lost their jobs. Borders have been closed.
 
“That’s why funding UN’s global humanitarian response plan for COVID-19 is so essential,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
 
“UNICEF alone is appealing for $405 million for our response in emergency countries. We are also seeking an additional $246.6 for our response in non-emergency countries. So, our total appeal is for $651.6 million,” she said.
 
With support from the international community, UNICEF can shore up preparedness and response plans in countries with weaker healthcare systems. Besides access to proper handwashing and sanitation services can be ramped up.
 
In addition to engagement with communities to provide the information they need to avoid contagion, UNICEF can maintain a steady flow of personal protection equipment — such as gowns, masks, goggles and gloves — to support infection prevention and control while keeping essential, hard-working health workers safe, she said.
 
UNICEF can continue working with governments to strengthen protection services, psychosocial support and remote learning opportunities for all the children, and particularly for the most vulnerable children.
 
“Children are the hidden victims of this pandemic. We’re worried about its short- and long-term impacts on their health, well-being, development and prospects. We’re worried about their lack of access to water and hygiene services. As you know, washing hands with soap is critical in the fight against COVID-19. And yet, 40 per cent of the world’s population – or 3 billion people – do not have a handwashing facility with water and soap at home,” she noted.
 
Even worse, 16 per cent of healthcare facilities, or 1 in 6, do not have hygiene services. And over one-third of schools worldwide and half of schools in the least-developed countries have no place for children to wash their hands at all.
 
UNICEF is worried about their education. More than half of the world’s students have been affected by nation-wide school closures in at least 120 countries.
 
“We hope that most of these students will resume their learning as soon as the situation improves. However, we know from experience that for vulnerable children, the longer they stay away from school the less likely they are to return. These closures are not only limiting access to learning — but to school nutrition, health programmes, clean water and accurate information.”
 
That’s why UNICEF is working with education ministries around the world to identify alternative learning opportunities, whether learning classes online or through radio and TV programmes.
 
UNICEF has also issued guidance, along with WHO and IFRC, to advise parents, teachers, school administrators and others on how to keep children learning while keeping them safe. -- Tradearabia News Service
 
 



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