Protecting the most vulnerable people at risk from the global coronavirus pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic is spreading to countries already affected by poverty, conflict and natural disasters. There are now more than 5 million confirmed cases in 188 countries and territories around the world, and the figure keeps rising.
The epidemic will have a dramatic impact on people living in countries where health facilities have already been undermined by conflict or extreme poverty. The virus could spread rapidly in countries with overcrowded refugee camps like Kenya, Bangladesh and Lebanon, where the death toll is likely to be very high.
Video reports from HI staff
Click below to watch the latest video reports on the impact of Covid-19 from HI's technical experts and staff around the world in countries including Nepal, Rwanda, Jordan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
Covid-19 Emergency Appeal
Humanity & Inclusion's teams around the world are providing vital care and support to the most vulnerable people, such as people with disabilities, older people, and families displaced by conflict.
could provide a hygiene kit to a vulnerable family.
Impact on HI's activities
All of the 55 countries where Humanity & Inclusion (HI) works are affected.
It is vital to prevent the unchecked spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Africa, Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Although only a small number of cases have been reported in many of these countries, now is the time for action. This is why our teams are working with beneficiaries where still possible to adapt their response, reduce the spread of the virus and protect people to the best of their abilities.
Wherever possible, HI’s teams are making changes to the way they work to slow the spread of the pandemic in the field. They are reviewing their current response and implementing new projects to protect people from the virus and deal with the impact of the crisis, with a focus on people with disabilities, children, women, and isolated and older people.
existing projects responding to Covid-19
new projects responding to Covid-19
HI's operational response
HI’s operational approach to the crisis aims to provide a holistic response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
1. SUPPORT THE HEALTH RESPONSE
- Promote access to hygiene for basic services, communities and households (promote hygiene, distribute hygiene kits, soap, etc.).
- Identify and refer cases or suspected cases of Covid-19.
- Transport cases to health centres, as we did during the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone.
- Provide psychosocial support to health workers.
2. MITIGATE THE IMPACT OF THE PANDEMIC
- Identify vulnerable people most at risk and refer them to essential services.
- Address basic needs through food distributions and cash transfers. People left without work can no longer meet their needs and risk dying of malnutrition.
- Protect people most at risk and provide them with psychological and psychosocial support.
3. IMPROVE INCLUSIVE ACCESS TO ESSENTIAL SERVICES
- Improve access to essential services by using our logistics expertise to support the emergency response to the pandemic.
- Support the development of an inclusive response.
HI is also committed to providing testimony and helping analyse the impact of the pandemic on respect for humanitarian principles and values.
Supporting the most vulnerable people
Epidemics like Covid-19 can significantly increase the fragility, discrimination and violence already experienced by vulnerable people.
Groups targeted by HI projects
- People and households adversely impacted by the pandemic from an economic and/or health and psychosocial point of view.
- People with disabilities, isolated people, victims of chronic diseases and at-risk in terms of protection, including women, children, and refugees.
HI’s teams work in health facilities and essential services to assist other emergency response actors such as NGOs, the UN, and government ministries, both in communities and directly with individuals adversely impacted by the crisis and their families. Where access is not possible, we implement our own specific response to raise awareness, including by using the local media, websites, and loudspeakers to relay vital health information.
How the Covid-19 crisis threatens the most vulnerable
Exacerbating humanitarian crises
Due to existing humanitarian crises, the health systems of some of the world’s poorest countries are fragile and over-stretched. For example, after five years of war, only 50% of health facilities are currently operating in Yemen. However, the pandemic is increasing humanitarian needs and reducing access to target populations by humanitarian actors.
Posing a serious threat in refugee camps
Most refugees live in low- to middle-income countries. Covid-19 risks adding significantly to the pressure on fragile local health services and we are likely to see a spread of human suffering and very high mortality rates.
Increasing the isolation of people with disabilities
80% of people with disabilities in the world live below the poverty line, according to the World Health Organization. They face multiple obstacles to accessing health services, including transport costs, healthcare expenses, access to information and stigmatisation.
Exacerbating existing health issues
People with disabilities, older people, or people with chronic diseases are at a greater risk of developing serious complications if infected by the virus.The crisis requires targeted responses adapted to the needs of people affected.
Information on the prevention of Covid-19 must be distributed in accessible formats and health workers must specifically target vulnerable groups. Telehealth, including telerehabilitation, is vital for people with injuries or disabilities to ensure continuity of healthcare and services.
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Anfal is a mental health worker with Humanity & Inclusion in Iraq. She used to live in Mosul, which was bombed in 2017. Anfal and her family survived an airstrike that hit their house.