COVID-19 | Every Woman Every Child

Updated: 27 July 2020


“Gender equality and women’s rights are essential to getting through this pandemic together, to recovering faster, and to building a better future for everyone.” 

UNSG, António Guterres, Women and COVID-19


On July 13, the Independent Accountability Panel for Every Woman Every Child launched its 2020 report, which advocates strongly for action-based commitments to improve the lives of women, children, and adolescents and offers solutions to delivering on goals throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the news release here and watch the recorded event below.


Pandemics expose the lack of equity and fairness in our societies. Yet times of crisis also provide a chance to address the imbalance and to build stronger and resilient health systems and partnerships. Healthy and empowered women, children and adolescents can bring about the change needed to create a sustainable future for all. The care they receive must be integrated to achieve our goals of ending all preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents by 2030.

Collectively, we must seize the moment to work together to provide essential health interventions to everyone and to build back stronger. United, we will stop COVID-19 and continue progress to achieving the SDGs and the UN Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health. Let us continue to stand together, to speak with one voice, and to focus on action—not fear.

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:


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.

Situation Dashboards

Every Woman Every Child COVID-19 Expert Series

In this extraordinary time, trusted voices for the most up to date information to share with the public on COVID-19 are of utmost importance.The United Nations Secretary General’s initiative, Every Woman Every Child, is producing a series of Q and A’s with leading experts across multiple fields to share insights into how COVID19 is affecting women, children and adolescents. View the latest videos below and the entire playlist here.
Robert Matiru, Director of Programme Division with Unitaid, shares the organization’s pivot toward COVID-19 while safeguarding investments in HIV and TB diagnostics and treatment.

Public Health

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.
  • WHO also has a list of asks to the public sector during COVID-19.
  • 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.

Child Health

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.

A story book has been released on how children can cope with COVID-19. The book – My hero is you, how kids can fight COVID-19, explains how children can protect themselves, their families and friends from coronavirus and how to manage difficult emotions when confronted with a new and rapidly changing reality.

Read the book – My Hero is You: English | Other language versions

Related links:

Maternal Health

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.”



Adolescents represent over 1.8 billion of the total world population. In some countries, adolescents are over 50 percent of the total national population. With global school closures in over 188 countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic and severe economic crisis leading to job losses, adolescents face an unprecedented period of mental stress. As the virus spreads, issues of connectivity and access will continue to emerge. Nevertheless, new ways of providing information and essential services such as sexual and reproductive health and rights to young people must be established. Also, young people can be important allies and resource in mitigating risks and for community outreach.

  • UNFPA has put together a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response technical brief with key messages and interventions for young people.
  • The UNICEF Voice of Youth page provides a platform to socially share and tips on mental health and COVID-19, focusing on ways to relieve mental stress.
  • The United Nations  Secretary General Youth Envoy, Jayathma Wickramanayake, weekly, will introduce ten young people fighting the coronavirus in their communities, highlighting how young people are rising up to meet the challenge of the pandemic.
  • Every Woman Every Child has partnered with MTV Staying Alive Foundation, UNITAID and ViacomCBS to create a 60-part mini-series titled MTV Shuga: Alone Together aimed at educating and sensitizing adolescents and young people on COVID-19.


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 over 190 countries globally with over 1.5 billion learners out of school representing over 89.5 per cent of the world’s student population. 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 Global Education Coalition launched by UNESCO seeks to facilitate inclusive learning opportunities for children and youth during this period of sudden and unprecedented educational disruption.
  • UNICEF and Microsoft have launched a global learning platform to help children and youth affected by COVID-19 continue their education at home. The Learning Passport, designed in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, will enable all countries with a curriculum capable of being taught online to facilitate online learning for children and youth with devices at home. The expanded platform will also provide key resources to teachers and educators.
  • UNICEF has released guidelines for safe reopening of schools.


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 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.


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.

  • World leaders are uniting behind a people’s vaccine for COVID-19
  •  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.

Mental Health

Information is helpful, but too much information can be unhelpful.


The humanitarian aspects of the coronavirus pandemic are continuing to emerge. Experts are especially concerned about conditions in refugee and internment camps.

  • 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


Updated as packs become available:

Accounts to follow and retweet from:

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The global pandemic has elicited multiple commitments and pledges from private sector and governmental partners alike.

Private Sector Commitments 

Government Commitments