Updated: 25th May 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
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:
- 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
- The UN has launched Verified, a new initiative to to fight COVID-19 misinformation
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
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.
- The UN launched the policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on children, exploring the ramifications of the pandemic of the world’s children and the specific protection measures that must be put in place for vulnerable children.
- 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
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.
- Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak
- The IASC Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings
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 World Bank has the latest on the effects on the global economy.
- The UN has launched the UN framework for the immediate socio-economic response on COVID-19.
- The UNDSG, Ms. Amina Mohammed, has launched the ‘Rise For All’ Campaign to support the UN roadmap for the socio-economic recovery from COVID-19.
“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.
- A British Medical Journal article provides resources on violence against women due to COVID-19
- 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.
- Women Deliver’s recent Op-Ed- A Gender lens for COVID highlights the five recommendations to re-frame the pandemic response with gender at the center.
- UN Women has a page devoted to the gender equality in the COVID-19 response.
- The UN has launched the policy brief on the impact of COVID-19 on women, exploring how the lives of women and girls are changing and the best measures for immediate response and long-term recovery.
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.
Information is helpful, but too much information can be unhelpful.
- UN SG launches brief: COVID-19 and the need for action on mental health
- Tips for keeping stress levels low and remaining healthy in the middle of a global pandemic.
- Experts from John Hopkins school of public health share some tips for protecting your mental health during the coronavirus 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
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
Mental health Science: Effect of COVID-19 on Mental health
Living with HIV: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) living with HIV
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
Policy Responses: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) policy responses by countries
SOCIAL MEDIA PACKS
Updated as packs become available:
- UN Trello board
- UN Talent House graphic design resource
- WHO general public advice
- WHO Myth Buster materials
- COVID19 Solidarity Response Fund partner toolkit
Resource Mobilization for COVID-19
- Family Planning 2020
- Women Deliver
- COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund
- UNICEF raises COVID-19 appeal to US$651.6 million
- UNFPA additional need outside of humanitarian situations of US$67.5 million
- Save the Children launches US$100 million COVID-19 appeal
- International Committee of the Red Cross launches emergency COVID-19 appeal
- Doctors without borders COVID-19 appeal to respond quickly in humanitarian settings
- Plan international €10 million appeal for vulnerable children affected by COVID-19
- IOM launched USD $ 499 million expanded COVID-19 appeal to address socio-economic impacts of pandemic
- Coronavirus relief fund for food, industry essential workers, health and the homeless
- Businesses form the COVID-Zero coalition to raise USD $8 billion for R & D
- The Save the Children 2.6 challenge for children around the world
- Sotheby’s and Google virtually raise funds for the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) work to help mitigate and respond to the spread of COVID-19 in vulnerable communities
- European Union coronavirus global response fund reaches € 7.4 billion out of 7.5 during pledging conference
The global pandemic has elicited multiple commitments and pledges from private sector and governmental partners alike.
Private Sector Commitments
- American Airlines partners with UNICEF to provide relief for COVID-19 efforts in Latin America
- Bill Gates is funding new factories to make 7 potential coronavirus vaccines
- Bill and Melinda Gates commit 100 Million USD and invite others to join
- Crocs shares free pair to healthcare professionals
- JetBlue offers free flights for medical professionals and supplies and other organizations offer other supplies, hotel and coffee as coronavirus pandemic continues
- The Starbucks Foundation donates more than $ 3M to global COVID-19 relief efforts
- Tencent donates USD $ 10M to COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund
- 193 Member States unanimously sign the declaration of solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Canada commits more than USD $1 billion to national medical research strategy to fight COVID-19
- The Netherlands announces Euros 10 million in additional support for GFF COVID-19 response
- Vietnam donates USD $50,000 to WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity response fund
- Norway creates new multi donor fund at the United Nations to assist countries with weak health systems in the COVID-19 response
- Norway sets aside funds for humanitarian COVID-19 response
- Norway makes a record NOK2.2 Billion donation to CEPI for COVID-19 response
- Canada donates $ 50 Million CAD in humanitarian assistance to help developing countries prepare and respond to COVID-19
- Canada funds research to rapidly detect, manage and reduce the spread of COVID-19
- UK increases investment in CEPI to develop a COVID-19 vaccine
- Japan, UK, USA, Korea and Australia donate to the UNICEF COVID-19 appeal
- 5% of contribution by Japan ($ 476 M USD) to Global fund dedicated to COVID-19 pandemic
- Global Fund approves 5% allocation of funds to COVID-19 response
- Gavi makes funds available immediately for supported countries to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Denmark sets aside $ 1 Billion to support coronavirus response in the African continent and nearby areas
- The European Union reallocates €140 Million to 6 European countries most at need and €700 Million in instruments to mitigate the socio-economic impact of COVID-19
- The World Bank Group increases COVID-19 funding to $ 14 Billion to help sustain economies and protect jobs