In this unprecedented time, with Covid 19 impacting every single one of us in one way or another, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and out of control. But we, now more than ever, need to remember that we are not helpless! We all have the power to care for and to protect those who are the most vulnerable. In this time of crisis World Vision is responding to the pandemic as it continues to spread around the globe.
At the heart of our response is a deep concern about the impact this crisis could have on the most vulnerable children around the world. This includes children whose families and loved ones are already battling tuberculosis, pneumonia, malaria, HIV and AIDS, and high rates of malnutrition. People living where health facilities are poorly equipped; lack isolation facilities, intensive care and respiratory equipment. Millions of refugees and displaced people are living in large, overcrowded, often unhygienic areas, with limited access to medical care. Our worst nightmare is this virus taking hold in these conditions.
Globally, World Vision has experience and expertise helping communities prepare and respond to virus outbreaks. World Vision Ireland has been implementing health programmes for a long time, including actively supporting the Ebola Response in West Africa and more recently in the DRC. Responding to the coronavirus is going to take the same kind of experience.
World Vision will work with households and communities in the developing world, to promote hand washing and respiratory hygiene, isolation, good family and community Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) behaviours by working with community health workers and volunteers. We will also set up public handwashing stations and distribute soap, sanitizer and masks where appropriate.
We will support health systems and workers by providing personal protective equipment (e.g, masks & gowns), treatment supplies (e.g. thermometers); training and equipping community health workers to help with home care for the sick, to share stay-healthy messaging, and to help run isolation centres and transport for the sick. Finally, we will provide multi-sector support for children impacted by COVID-19. World Vision plans to reach 11 million people in our 17-priority country response.
When children living in poorer countries lose loved ones, they end up much more vulnerable. They may have to work to survive; see their families sink into poverty; or suffer isolation and psychological harm. Our emergency response aims to help prevent the spread of the virus and its devastating effects.
There are also several things that you can do in this time of uncertainty:
1. Speak up for the most vulnerable
Responding to this global crisis is a challenge for most countries, but in places where health systems are weak, the situation is even more desperate. Write to your local politicians and get on social media – ask your government to support nations where the world’s most vulnerable live to combat the spread of coronavirus.
2. Stay informed
Each one of us can help stop the spread of the coronavirus by doing what we can to stay healthy. Wash your hands, respect restrictions in your country, stick to social distancing rules and keep up-to-date on the latest information – visit the World Health Organization or the HSE for the latest health recommendations. Visit worldvision.ie for regular updates on what World Vision is doing to keep vulnerable children and their communities safe.
3. Donate to help vulnerable children in emergencies
While wealthy countries typically have 2-12 hospital beds per 1k people, the poorest countries have as few as 1 bed per 10k. In a crisis, children are always the most vulnerable. A united global effort is needed to help prevent the Covid-19 pandemic from destroying the lives of vulnerable children. Please donate whatever you can now to children in emergencies
And lastly, if you are currently sponsoring a child with us, please:
4. Let your sponsored child know that you care
Children everywhere are no doubt feeling frightened as the world around them panics with uncertainty about the coronavirus. They are listening to conversations between friends, parents and teachers - and for some, witnessing sickness and tragedy first-hand. Write a letter or message to your sponsored child to reassure them that even in uncertain times, you’re thinking of them or praying for them. There might be delays with letters in some affected areas but a message to show you care, even if it takes some time to get there, is incredibly powerful. It will bring reassurance and comfort to your sponsored child, when they need it most.
We wish you and your family health and safety during this uncertain time. If you can, please donate whatever you can to children in emergencies.