UNICEF – COVID-19 Response

UNICEF in Action

UNICEF has been responding to the impacts of the pandemic since its earliest days – from providing critical PPE and medical supplies, to ensuring children can still access essential health care, routine vaccinations, education and other essential services.

Moreover, UNICEF continues to work with governments and partners in 133 low and middle income countries to turn COVAX and government-funded vaccines into vaccinations, as well as strengthening access to diagnostics, therapeutics and personal protective equipment for health workers. UNICEF provides technical, operational and financial support and leverage our long-established in-country partnerships – to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments reach those most in need.

It is critical to maintain and build upon this momentum. Now is the time to invest; to work together to close the gap of inequity and end the pandemic – and halt the damage to children’s futures.

 

Our Support

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to negatively impact Africa, with southern African countries, namely Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini and South Africa (BNLES), accounting for 40 per cent of all the cases and 43 per cent of the deaths on the continent.

As of November 25th, only 27 per cent of health workers in Africa have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, leaving the bulk of the workforce on the frontlines against the pandemic unprotected, a preliminary analysis by World Health Organization (WHO) shows.

The Twice the Doctor Foundation, with your support, can help change this. Through your donations, UNICEF can continue the following activities in the most vulnerable communities in Southern Africa:
• support in-country delivery of COVID-19 vaccines
• deliver diagnostic tests and related technical assistance
• strengthen oxygen systems and deliver novel and repurposed therapeutics
• provide front-line workers with PPE and supplies to work safely
• support risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) to promote the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments.

 

A Note from Tony Stuart, Chief Executive, UNICEF Australia

“Twice the Doctor Foundation is working with UNICEF to give Australian doctors like you the chance to double your impact as health workers. By donating a single day’s salary, you can make a huge difference…” to the people in Southern Africa. 

UNICEF COVAX Southern Africa Twice The Doctor2  
UNICEF COVAX Southern Africa2
UNICEF COVAX Southern Africa Twice The Doctor3

The Context 

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed and exacerbated underlying inequities, social divides, and vulnerabilities, both nationally and internationally, which is leading to tension and conflict in and among countries.

The rapid spread of the Omicron variant is an alarm bell for what happens when COVID-19 is allowed to circulate unchecked, anywhere. While Omicron appears to cause severe disease in a lower percentage of people it remains a dangerous virus. Even though Omicron can infect vaccinated people, vaccines remain highly effective at protecting people against serious illness, hospitalization, and death.

In terms of COVID-19 vaccine distribution and uptake, as of the 1st of February 2022, the COVAX facility shipped over 1.12 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 144 countries, facilitated by UNICEF’s vaccine distribution infrastructure. However, vaccine inequity is still stark, with just 5.5 per cent per cent of people in low-income countries having received two doses of the vaccine.

Combined with this the pandemic has disrupted delivery of routine essential services such as maternal and new-born health care, routine immunisation and child protection services. Over one million additional deaths of children under five years old are predicted, mainly due to reduced routine healthcare and higher child malnutrition rates. Millions of children are in danger of missing life-saving vaccines against measles, diphtheria and polio due to disruptions in immunisation services. Polio vaccination campaigns have been suspended worldwide, setting back the decades-long effort to eliminate the virus. Measles immunisation campaigns have already been delayed in 24 countries, and more are expected to be postponed.