COVID-19: UNFPA to strengthen health systems – Executive Director

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Natalia Kanem

NATALIA Kanem, the Executive Director, United Nations (UN) Population Fund (UNFPA), on Monday said the fund was committed to strengthening health systems and delivering essential supplies to the vulnerable to cushion COVID-19 effects.

She stated that the Fund was currently projecting a cost of US$187.5 million for 2020 in support of countries with weak public health and in poor humanitarian situations

Kanem said this in a statement to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, signed by Mrs Kori Habib, Media Associate, UNFPA.

According to her, its focus is to protect health workers, ensure access to sexual and reproductive health and Gender-based violence services, promoting risk communication and community engagement. “Now is time for solidarity, resolve and selflessness.

”We must not forget that there are people we may not immediately see, who are at great risk as a result of the consequences of the crisis:

“The pregnant women, who need antenatal care, but are unsure whether it is safe to go to the clinic. The women in abusive relationships trapped at home for the foreseeable future and fearing for their safety.

“The tens of millions of people in refugee camps, who are counting down the days until the coronavirus arrives, and for whom social distancing is simply not an option,” she said.

Kanem said that the plight of older people trapped in isolation and starved of social interaction as a result of vulnerability occasioned by illness from the virus had increased.

She said UNFPA was providing material support to affected health systems and protecting health workers and midwives in China, Iran and the Philippines, for instance.

Kanem said that it distributed essential hygiene and other items to the most vulnerable and personal protective equipment to health workers in countries considered to be worst hit by the virus.

“In Moldova, we have launched an online dashboard for the health system that shows its current caseload, disaggregated by location, sex, age and pregnancy status,” she said.

Kanem said that essential needs of women and girls in the battle against COVID-19 and during the challenging months ahead should be ensured.

She said that COVID-19 required the international community to come to the help of those affected by the crisis.

Kanem said that UNFPA commiserated with families and others who had lost their loved ones in this global health crisis of the century.

“This pandemic has disrupted access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health services and hampered authorities’ ability to respond to gender-based violence.

“UNFPA is working with governments and partners to prioritise the particular needs of women and girls, in line with our goals to end unmet need for family planning and harmful practices by 2030.

“We have appealed to donors to fund our COVID-19 response targeting countries with weak public health and in humanitarian situations. We are currently projecting a cost of US$187.5 million for 2020,” she said. (NAN)

– Mar. 30, 2020 @ 17:49 GMT |

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