Humanity needs leadership and solidarity to defeat the coronavirus
The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time and the greatest challenge we have faced since World War Two. Since its emergence in Asia late last year, the virus has spread to every continent except Antarctica. Cases are rising daily in Africa the Americas, and Europe.
Countries are racing to slow the spread of the virus by testing and treating patients, carrying out contact tracing, limiting travel, quarantining citizens, and cancelling large gatherings such as sporting events, concerts, and schools.
The pandemic is moving like a wave—one that may yet crash on those least able to cope.
But COVID-19 is much more than a health crisis. By stressing every one of the countries it touches, it has the potential to create devastating social, economic and political crises that will leave deep scars.
We are in uncharted territory. Many of our communities are now unrecognizable. Dozens of the world’s greatest cities are deserted as people stay indoors, either by choice or by government order. Across the world, shops, theatres, restaurants and bars are closing.
Every day, people are losing jobs and income, with no way of knowing when normality will return. Small island nations, heavily dependent on tourism, have empty hotels and deserted beaches. The International Labour Organization estimates that 195 million jobs could be lost.
Every country needs to act immediately to prepare, respond, and recover. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has launched a US$2 billion global humanitarian response plan in the most vulnerable. Developing countries could lose at least US$220 billion in income, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has called for US$2.5 trillion to support them.
Drawing on our experience with other outbreaks such as Ebola, HIV, SARS, TB and malaria, as well as our long history of working with the private and public sector, UNDP will help countries to urgently and effectively respond to COVID-19 as part of its mission to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and build resilience to crises and shocks.
“We are already hard at work, together with our UN family and other partners, on three immediate priorities: supporting the health response including the procurement and supply of essential health products, under WHO’s leadership, strengthening crisis management and response, and addressing critical social and economic impacts.” UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner
In collaboration with its partners, the UNDP supports Djibouti using an integrated approach through preparation, response and recovery COVID-19, as part of its mission to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and strengthen resilience to crises and shocks.
Since the start of the pandemic, the UNDP office in Djibouti has worked with national authorities to formulate a multisectoral response plan. In accordance with the offer from UNDP and the United Nations Global Humanitarian Response Plan, the country office has designed a personalized COVID-19 intervention plan for Djibouti, based on three strategic priorities:
1. Halt the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic and reduce morbidity and mortality
2. Reduce the deterioration of goods and human rights, social cohesion and livelihoods
3. Perspective of inclusive and sustainable development in Djibouti.
IIn collaboration with the Government, UNDP is strengthening national and local preparedness and response capacity on inclusive crisis management and coordination, including on gender sensitive contingency planning and need assessments. To ensure government business continuity during confinement, UNDP has procured Zoom licenses for key line ministries.
To mobilize additional resources to respond to the epidemic situation, UNDP, in collaboration with WHO, UNICEF and UNHCR, has supported the Ministry of Health to develop an updated COVID19 response plan, that reflects the epidemiological situation and related data, including a thorough gap analysis. The plan includes a strategy to ensure continuity of health services.
UNDP, though Global Funds, is working closely with Ministry of health strengthening health systems, supporting communities and ensuring continuity of essential health services.
To curb the spread of COVID-19, UNDP and the Ministry of health repurposed Global Fund grants to procure testing equipment, consumables and PPE.
The Global Fund recently customized nation-wide health information systems for case registration management.
In the same line, UNDP continues to support the Ministry of Health through HIV, tuberculosis and malaria programmes by adapting the national response to that of COVID19: online patient tracking, support to health practitioners involved in online tracking and automation of the workflow for the demand for tuberculosis, HIV and malaria medicines.
Volunteers from the Network of People Living with HIV are delivering antiretroviral medicines to people who are unable to leave their homes. Because of stigma, many patients do not attend a health facility close to their home for fear of being recognized. Following the establishment of the confinement measures, disruptions to public transport mean it can be difficult for some patients to reach health facilities. UNDP provided the network with IT equipment and dedicated resources for legal support, through a lawyer that will support people living with HIV reporting human rights violations to the network.
To empower national authorities with real time data, UNDP supported the Ministry of Health by including COVID19 data in the online data management platform that allows them to easily share a daily report between government officials involved in the COVID19 response.
In addition, the Global Fund team adapted the national health information system (DHIS2) to monitor COVID-19 cases. UNDP supported the Ministry of Health in implementing a real-time dashboard for inventory management of key medical supplies and equipment related to COVID-19 to optimize the supply of health products. UNDP is also facilitating the interoperability of the health information system on stock management for long-term capacity development and impact.
Awareness-Raising and basic hygiene service
To prevent the spread of the virus, raise awareness and ensure better access to basic service to those who might be left behind, UNDP has mobilized its established networks of civil society organizations through micro-grants for emergency livelihood opportunities at the grassroots level and supported hand washing campaigns and distribution of hand washing kits hand-in-hand with national authorities.
UNDP’s Handwashing points “Smiling Fountains” have been installed on markets and places with reduced access to basic hygiene supplies in different parts of the city and in the region. Thanks to the support of numerous volunteers, awareness campaigns are conducted daily on the ground in different areas.
To leave no one behind and give access to prevention and knowledge of good hygiene practices, UNDP organized awareness-raising activities and provided hygiene materials for more than 600 displaced families living on the El Sheik Farah site, an isolated site located near Damerjoog. In coordination with MoH, UNDP has also organized training of the doctors of the mobile team on the detection and prevention of COVID-19.
To intensify handwashing activities and improve coordination, UNDP approached the government to increase partnership, which led to the creation of a coordination committee under the leadership of the Ministry of Decentralization. UNDP will continue to develop its activities on the basis of a centralized needs assessment.
Socio-economic impact assessement
UNDP supports the implementation of a global approach to society to face challenges beyond the health sector, to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to mitigate the potentially devastating impact it could have on vulnerable populations and economies.
In partnership with the World Bank, IMF and the Economic Commission for Africa, UNDP contributed to the COVID-19 macro-economic impact assessment - led by the Ministry of Finance and Economy - which puts emphasis on employment and on the informal sector. The assessment led to a costed National Solidarity Compact to fight COVID-19, focusing on social safety nets, essential services, economic sector and resource mobilization
In consultation with the Government, UNDP is working with the World Bank to conduct households and small and medium enterprise digital surveys to assess the impact on the population and the informal sector and to guide the national response
Building on this work, UNDP is assisting the Government to conduct an SDG focused impact assessment through a ‘whole-of society’ approach with attention to the most vulnerable and gender equality. This assessment will support a comprehensive and budgeted SDG Acceleration Plan through an inclusive and participatory process with civil society and youth-led organizations to enhance SDG achievement.
Solidarity Against Covid19: Together We Are One!
As the UN’s technical lead agency on socio-economic impact and recovery, UNDP supports the socio-economic response to the pandemic of the Government of Djibouti and the National Solidarity Pact to bounce forward sustainable development.
As part of UNDP's global call for solidarity, UNDP Djibouti launched a participatory fundraising campaign entitled "Rising Djibouti" to help women and men in Djibouti overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and recover.
This campaign aims to mobilize resources and allocate micro-grants to 30,000 underprivileged households to bounce forward. The campaign will also give stimulus packages to 15,000 micro or small business owners to reinvigorate the local economy. It is planned to distribute equipment and production materials to 20 000 self-employed workers to ensure the sustainability of their businesses. Moreover, micro-grants will be offered to 100 local associations to support their communities. This campaign mobilizes not only financial resources, but also particular attention and awareness in the national and international communities to spread the word and circulate the campaign information within their networks. It encourages solidarity and unity in Djibouti.
UNDP and UNICEF also supported the CLE in launching the COVID-19 Innovation Challenge to the public, with specific windows for youth, women, persons with disabilities and CSOs.
This challenge brought together 37 innovative projects that provide solutions with immediate impact to contribute to the fight against COVID-19. The 6 selected projects received a financial support and are followed by a mentor to help them respond quickly to the crisis.
UNDP supported CTID in the development of innovative solutions to setup a COVID-19 digital platform to promote community engagement for prevention, response and social cohesion.
CTID created a new Chatbot that provides valuable advice on Coronavirus in all local languages on WhatsApp to ensure no one is left behind,
Covid-19 waste management
At the request of the Government of Djibouti, UNDP is supporting the Ministry of Interior, in partnership with the World Bank, to strengthen medical and solid waste management through acquisition of incinerators and introduction of an appropriate regulatory framework.