Wealthy countries typically have 2 – 12 beds per 1,000 people, but the poorest countries have as few as 1 bed per 10,000. World Vision Ireland has emphasized that a global effort is needed to stop the Covid-19 pandemic, and that children in extreme poverty are always the most vulnerable in a crisis. The Irish charity said that when children living in poorer countries lose loved ones, they risk ending up in unsafe situations. Oftentimes, they must engage in child labour to survive; see their families sink into poverty; or suffer isolation and psychological harm.
World Vision has launched a global response to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. The charity’s three programming priorities are:
1. Promoting preventative measures in the developing world;
2. Supporting health systems and workers;
3. Supporting children made vulnerable by Covid-19.
The charity plans to reach 22.5 million people in their 17-priority country response, to flatten the curve.
“We are deeply concerned about the impact this crisis could have on the most vulnerable children around the world.” Niall McLoughlin, CEO of World Vision Ireland, said. “This includes children whose families have serious underlying health conditions – some of whom are already battling tuberculosis, pneumonia, malaria, HIV and AIDS, in communities with high rates of malnutrition. Children in extreme poverty are living where health facilities are poorly equipped, lack isolation facilities and intensive care and respiratory equipment. Millions of refugees and displaced people live in large, overcrowded, often unhygienic areas, with limited access to medical care. Our worst nightmare is this virus taking hold in these conditions, because it will spread rapidly and there won’t be sufficient resources to flatten the curve.”
Globally, World Vision has experience and expertise helping communities prepare and respond to virus outbreaks. The charity has previously worked to combat the spread of Ebola in Africa and Zika in Latin America and has educated thousands of communities about the importance of hand hygiene, basic health care, and disease control.
“Responding to the coronavirus is going to take the same kind of experience.” Niall said. “A key approach for World Vision all around the world has been to partner with leaders who are trusted by communities. We train leaders who then share effective health messages in their communities. Failure to do this can lead to rumours and misinformation quickly spreading which then hampers efforts to slow the spread of a disease. If we don’t tackle the Covid-19 pandemic at a global level, it will be far more difficult to treat at a national level.”
The charity is calling on the Irish public to donate whatever they can to help the world’s most vulnerable children by going to