UNHCR launched an initial urgent appeal to support prevention and response efforts in refugee sites and host countries in view of the COVID-19 outbreak. Due to the fast-changing character of the crisis, the funding requirements are provisional and will be updated based on the risk and need assessments we are conducting in the over 134 countries where we operate.
UNHCR is doing its part to prevent and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, building on our experience in the previous outbreaks and working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO). UNHCR’s preparedness measures protect refugees and other people of concern to UNHCR before, during and after global health emergencies.
In response to current data, UNHCR has followed WHO’s guidance and identified a number of prevention and response activities in refugee situations. UNHCR may choose to supplement national responses to cater for needs in areas hosting refugees and other persons of concern that may not be adequately covered. Such country-specific support aims at:
- Infection prevention and control: Ensuring adequate access to clean water, hygiene supplies such as soap, narrow necked water containers, and covered buckets for households, and waste disposal in refugee communities, including health facilities, collective shelters and reception centres.
- Risk communication and community engagement: Strengthening communications with refugee and displaced communities with information on hygiene measures, using available national and community education programmes and adapting communication materials to suit local linguistic and cultural needs.
- Epidemiological surveillance, rapid response teams and case investigation: Contributing to surveillance, active case finding, contact tracing and investigation of alerts in collaboration with Ministries of Health, WHO and partners, including at points of entry and refugee sites.
- Case management: Training health workers in refugee sites on case definitions and disease identification and management, home care for mild cases, identification of secondary referral facilities in lien with guidelines by Ministries of Health and WHO.
- Protection monitoring: Putting in place mechanisms in collaboration with governments and partners to monitor and report as well as mitigate potential protection risks for refugees and displaced people, including restriction to access to territory and right to seek asylum.
- Country-level coordination, planning and monitoring: Advocating for the inclusion of refugees and displaced people in national contingency planning efforts, including calculation of needs in stockpiles of medical and WASH supplies, contributing to UN Country Team and other coordination meetings, reviewing health partner capacity to respond in the event of an outbreak in refugee camps and settlements.
But we cannot do this alone. Your donation today will help with funding at global level and allow timely emergency response to the evolving needs wherever required. Please donate today.