Updated: 25 March 2020
“This is a time for prudence, not panic. Science, not stigma. Facts, not fear. ”
– UNSG, António Guterres, COVID-19: We will come through this together
During the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to unify messaging and offer the public cohesive, helpful and actionable information. Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Only share information from reputable sources. Prioritize unbiased information from organizations like the World Health Organization, UNICEF, other UN agencies and reputable journals, e.g. The Lancet.
- The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health is also maintaining a page on COVID-19 related guidance.
- Focus on what will work to contain the spread, mitigate is impact and explain what this means or looks like in practice: e.g., physical distancing and hand washing.
- Make content fun – be visual, be creative. #SafeHands #SusanaDistancia #AtHomeTogether
As the information and situation unfolds in real time, here is a selection of sites continuously updating information on issues facing women, children and adolescents, as well as a selection of messages and visuals.
Every Woman Every Child COVID-19 Expert Series
- Maternal and Child Health: Dr. Anshu Banerjee, Director of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health & Ageing
- Supply Chain: In our first edition, we speak with Shanelle Hall, Founder of The Yellow House, a consulting firm with an emphasis on global public health. Shanelle is also a former UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, as well as director of UNICEF’s Supply Division, based in Copenhagen.
Global and local health officials are playing a crucial role in keeping people informed about the situation in their community and what is being done to stop the spread. Simplify and amplify the guidance of your location and spread information by fact checking and sourcing messages.
- WHO has created a WhatsApp group anyone can subscribe to for the latest numbers, myth busters, travel advice and more.
- How much do you know about COVID-19? UNICEF created this interactive quiz.
- Get your daily COVID-19 updates and briefings directly from public health officials at WHO.
- Prevent the spread by hand washing, covering your cough, physical distancing (maintaining at least six feet between you and someone else) and by staying home, if feasible.
- COVID-19 symptoms generally include fever, sore throat, cough and shortness of breath.
While it appears most children have milder COVID-19 symptoms than adults, there is concern for children with underlying health issues, e.g., malnourished, those living with HIV or battling lymphoma and leukemia.
- Get the most up to date information from the CDC and UNICEF.
- UNICEF and WHO have guidance in English, Arabic, French, Spanish and Russian.
- Pediatrics has two papers specific to COVID-19 occurrence in children.
- WHO has guidance on helping children cope with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- How to talk to children about crisis:
– Give age appropriate information
– Be reassuring
– Try to have some fun
- The Lancet has published a correspondence on Parenting in the time of COVID-19
The effect of COVID-19 on pregnant women is an ever-evolving situation; follow the latest updates from the CDC and WHO. A Yale Medicine Ob/Gyn answered some common questions and concerns about pregnancy and COVID-19 in this article.
- Pregnant women should maintain access to regular health services
- There are no known cases of mother to child transmission of COVID-19
Pregnant, breastfeeding women
The WHO has a regularly updated Q and A on COVID-19, pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Ultimately the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the risks.
- The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has recommended that breastfeeding women who become ill should not be separated from their newborns.
- Research has shown no evidence that the virus can be transmitted through breastmilk, nevertheless, UNFPA urged in its recent statement that mothers who are infected should wear a mask when near their baby, wash their hands before and after feeding, and disinfect contaminated surfaces. And if a mother is too ill to breastfeed, she should be encouraged to express milk for the baby, while taking all necessary precautions.
“Mental health and psychosocial support should be made available
to affected individuals and their families.”
Children throughout the world are out of school in unprecedented numbers. As the virus spreads, issues of connectivity and access will continue to emerge.
- Schools have been closed in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North and South America. UNESCO has set up a page that is being regularly updated and is providing solutions for distance learning and has quick tips to support your child’s learning at home.
- School closures are likely to have long-reaching effects – loss of knowledge, violence, etc. These risks can be mitigated to avoid a crisis within a crisis.
The effect of this global pandemic on the economy is unprecedented and intertwined with the health of communities and individuals. However, the priority must be placed on public health and each human life. The economy can come back, but death is irreversible.
- The World Bank has the latest on the effects on the global economy.
“The economic impact is and will be severe, but the faster the virus stops, the quicker and stronger the recovery will be.”
– Kirstalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
Women are being disproportionately affected by the social impact of coronavirus. Crisis historically exacerbates gender inequality.
- The Lancet and the Gender Based Violence Area of Responsibility team have resources and information on the Gender implications of COVID-19: GBV AoR / The Lancet
- UNFPA has a technical brief on COVID-19: A gender lens on promoting Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights and promoting gender equality
- Here is a resource for COVID-19, gender and data intersection.
Once a vaccine is developed and available, it must be made available to all who need it. This is a challenge to gear up for.
- The GAVI Board approved reallocation of up 10 percent of funds to the coronavirus response in GAVI eligible countries.
- @Gavi is committed to helping reduce the burden of the coronavirus pandemic on fragile health systems and will fight to develop and deliver vaccines that are effective and accessible to all. Read the statement.
Information is helpful, but too much information can be unhelpful.
- Tips for keeping stress levels low and remaining healthy in the middle of a global pandemic.
The humanitarian aspects of the coronavirus pandemic are continuing to emerge. Experts are especially concerned about conditions in refugee and internment camps.
- Launch of the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan.
- UNSG, Mr. António Guterres made an appeal for a global ceasefire. Read the statement here.
- UNAIDS Executive Director, Winnie B has advocated for a human centred response in this statement.
- In already strained refugee camps, COVID-19 is feared to be potentially devastating. UNHCR has launched an urgent appeal.
- International Rescue Committee ramps up its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the crisis zones especially those with weak health systems.
- IFRC, IOM, UNHCR and WHO have jointly developed an interim guidance on scaling COVID-19 preparedness and response in humanitarian situations including camps and camp-like settings.
“We know Coronavirus doesn’t respect borders and that it hits the vulnerable hardest, those with weak health systems.”
– IRC President and CEO, David Miliband
Global mapping: Coronovirus disease (COVID-19) WHO live mapping
Protect yourself: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public
Protecting health workers: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) protecting health workers
Coping tips: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advise for adults
Questions and Answers: Q&A on coronavirus (COVID-19)
Travel advice: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) travel advice
Latest statement: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) update by WHO Director General
Situation reports: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation reports
Media resources: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) press briefings
Technical guidance: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) technical guidance
United Nations official page: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) latest updates
Scholarly articles: Lancet COVID-19 Resource Centre
SOCIAL MEDIA PACKS
Updated as packs become available:
- UN Trello Board
- WHO General public advice
- WHO Myth Buster Material
- COVID19 Solidarity Response Fund partner toolkit
COVID-19 AND THE SDGS: FOOD FOR THOUGHT
- Good Health and Well-Being: Smokers with weakened lungs are at a greater risk of experiencing severe cases of COVID-19.
- Quality Education: With millions of children out of school around the world, connectivity and access to information are more important than ever.
- Gender Equality: While men seem to be more affected by the virus, women are bearing the brunt as caregivers.
- Clean Water and Sanitation: We should always wash our hands with soap and water regularly, cover our mouths when we cough and stay home when we are sick. These good habits will last a lifetime.
- Decent Work and Economic Growth: The economic health of the world and the physical health of the world are all interconnected.
- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure: All are playing an important role in the ability to respond to and contain the virus.
- Climate Action: Air quality and pollution are playing a factor in people’s susceptibility to the virus.
- Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions: The spread of this pandemic has shown how truly interconnected the world is. Let’s support one another and get through this stronger and more resilient than before.
COVID-19 SOLIDARITY RESPONSE FUND
The UN Foundation, at the request of WHO, and in partnership with Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, has created the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund which was launched Friday March 13, 2020 by WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus.
This first-of-its-kind mechanism will mean companies, philanthropies, and individuals can contribute to WHO’s work to prevent, detect, and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This vital work is designed to ensure all countries are prepared, especially those with the weakest health systems.
Read more on the announcement HERE.