COVID 19 RESOURCE AROUND THE WORLD
The initial Covid-19 lockdown has tentatively eased in South Africa. New Frame photojournalists document the empty streets and desperation that defined this difficult period.
The lockdown that was meant to last 21 days ended up lasting 35. South Africa has so far fared better than many other countries, even those with more developed healthcare systems.
But the burden of carrying this sacrifice has been disproportionately placed on our citizens who are most at risk: the homeless and those already afflicted with poverty before Covid-19 came to our shores.
In the absence of traditional heroes, it has fallen on ordinary South Africans to stay patient, help one another and keep going, with faith and hope for the future.
Left: 17 April 2020: A resident of the Glen Marikana shack settlement near Kempton Park waits to be tested by Gauteng member of the executive council for health Bandile Masuku and his team during the province’s mass screening and testing to control the spread of the coronavirus. (Photograph by Oupa Nkosi) Right 17 April 2020: Gauteng member of the executive council for health Bandile Masuku and a team of health workers carry out screening and testing for Covid-19 in the Glen Marikana shack settlement near Kempton Park. (Photograph by Oupa Nkosi)26 April 2020: Two Emergency Assistance Volunteer Support personnel take a breather between delivering food parcels in Ocean View, Cape Town. (Photograph by Barry Christianson)11 April 2020: Food parcels donated by local businesses and families who wish, to a large extent, to remain anonymous. The response from the community has been immediate and extremely generous, according to the Bo-Kaap Covid-19 Response Team spokesperson, although in times to come, as the resources of the recently unemployed are reduced, the amount of assistance would have to increase dramatically. (Photograph by Yasser Booley)29 April 2020: Hassane Habib Allah waits patiently to see an official at the Gauteng Department of Social Development in Johannesburg to apply for a permit to distribute food aid to those in need. He and a friend were arrested by the police the day before and fined R1 000 each for distributing food to the needy in Brixton. They were told that the essential service permit they had in their possession was not valid. Being a law-abiding citizen, he paid the fine and now wants to apply for an updated permit so he can continue distributing food. (Photograph by James Puttick)29 April 2020: Lucia Khumalo sews a mask out of traditional cloth. She started making the masks to supply her community at the Bekezela shack settlement in Newtown, Johannesburg. (Photograph by James Puttick)21 April 2020: People gather in the Imizamo Yethu shack settlement in Cape Town as they wait to collect their food parcels. (Photograph by Barry Christianson)28 April 2020: Members of the Mutungwa Service Delivery Task Team sign a list of demands to be delivered to the Department of Social Development. Made up of a coalition of community leaders from various shack settlements, community organisations and dark buildings – those with no electricity or water, named for the isiZulu ‘emnyama indawo’ or dark place – in Joburg’s inner city, they want the government to start distributing food parcels as they are beginning to starve. They warned that if they continue to be ignored, they will be forced to mobilise and march to the Gauteng Legislature in protest. (Photograph by James Puttick)11 April 2020: Cassiem Lucas, a longtime resident of Bo-Kaap and a volunteer for the Bo-Kaap Covid-19 Response Team, in a street that under normal circumstances would be crowded with camera-toting tourists. The response team started when it became evident that visitors from European countries heavily affected by the coronavirus were still visiting Bo-Kaap. Their first response was to galvanise organisations in the area to issue a unanimous ban on international visitors, to limit the largely elderly and vulnerable residents’ exposure to Covid-19. (Photograph by Yasser Booley)11 April 2020: Anees Diedericks, who lives in Bo-Kaap and volunteers for the response team, delivers food parcels in the area. (Photograph by Yasser Booley)29 April 2020: Mbalenhle ‘Flower’ Tshabalala outside the homeless shelter at the Hillbrow Recreation Centre in Johannesburg. The shelter is for men, so the 20-year-old sleeps outside on the street. But she is able to get a meal there during the day. Tshabalala came to Johannesburg two years ago from Piet Retief in Mpumalanga after she matriculated. She lost both her parents shortly after finishing school and was lured to Johannesburg by an aquaintance under the false pretence of work, which turned out to be prostitution in the Hillbrow criminal underworld. She refused and ended up on the streets, addicted to nyaope and crack cocaine. ‘If I could escape this, I would like to follow my dream of studying further … I did well at school,’ she says in her eloquent English. (Photograph by James Puttick)22 April 2020: Dillon Lakay, a Hout Bay United football club player, waits to unload food parcels in Hangberg. (Photograph by Barry Christianson)29 April 2020: A shopper walks past a poster in Sea Point advertising season five of the Lockdown television series. (Photograph by Barry Christianson)
Previous outbreaks have demonstrated that when health systems are overwhelmed, mortality from vaccine-preventable and other treatable conditions can also increase dramatically. During the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, the increased number of deaths caused by measles, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis attributable to health system failures exceeded deaths from Ebola [1,2].
“The best defense against any outbreak is a strong health system,” stressed WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “COVID-19 is revealing how fragile many of the world’s health systems and services are, forcing countries to make difficult choices on how to best meet the needs of their people.”
To help countries navigate through these challenges, the World Health Organization (WHO) has updated operational planning guidelines in balancing the demands of responding directly to COVID-19 while maintaining essential health service delivery, and mitigating the risk of system collapse. This includes a set of targeted immediate actions that countries should consider at national, regional, and local level to reorganize and maintain access to high-quality essential health services for all.
Countries should identify essential services that will be prioritized in their efforts to maintain continuity of service delivery and make strategic shifts to ensure that increasingly limited resources provide maximum benefit for the population. They also need to comply with the highest standard in precautions, especially in hygiene practices, and the provision of adequate supplies including personal protective equipment This requires robust planning and coordinated actions between governments and health facilities and their managers.
Some examples of essential services include: routine vaccination; reproductive health services including care during pregnancy and childbirth; care of young infants and older adults; management of mental health conditions as well as noncommunicable diseases and infectious diseases like HIV, malaria and TB; critical inpatient therapies; management of emergency health conditions; auxiliary services like basic diagnostic imaging, laboratory services, and blood bank services, among others.
Well-organized and prepared health systems can continue to provide equitable access to essential service delivery throughout an emergency, limiting direct mortality and avoiding increased indirect mortality.
The guidelines stress the importance of keeping up-to-date information. This requires frequent transparent communications with the public, and strong community engagements so the public can maintain trust in the system to safely meet their essential needs and to control infection risk in health facilities. This will help ensure that people continue to seek care when appropriate, and adhere to public health advice.
ICN highlights top priorities to beat COVID-19
9 April 2020
The International Council of Nurses (ICN) today published its COVID-19 list of top priorities based on the information and feedback received from its National Nursing Associations and their nurses on the frontline fighting the coronavirus.
These top priorities collectively form a call to action demanding that every part of society including governments, healthcare organisations and businesses pull together to beat the virus. These are practical steps that every country should include in their preparedness and response plans. ICN believes that only by working together will humanity be able to achieve what is necessary to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and eventually defeat it, while maintaining the best interests and wellbeing of our nursing workforce.
With more than one million cases of COVID-19 recorded around the world, nurses and other healthcare workers have stood firm against the onslaught of the virus and saved many thousands of lives. But they have been cruelly exposed to danger because of a lack of sufficient appropriate and high-quality personal protective equipment (PPE). Nurses’ lives are being put at risk, and some have been lost, because of failures in the supply chain of essential equipment that can stop the spread of this terrible disease.
ICN calls on all governments to show leadership and coordinate the PPE supply system across all sectors. They must safeguard cooperation across borders to ensure that equipment goes to where the need is greatest in a timely manner.
ICN Chief Executive Officer Howard Catton said:
“Unless there is resolute action, more nurses will become infected and unable to work, and sadly, more nurses and patients will die. We must see immediate steps to develop cooperation across borders so that PPE reaches the people who are literally putting their lives on the line to save the rest of us from the coronavirus. There is no time for debate about this – we need immediate action now.”
ICN’s list of COVID-19 top priorities is not only a call to action but also provides a guide to help NNAs and other nursing organisations to focus on some of the important issues nurses are facing as they respond to the current worldwide crisis.
ICN President Annette Kennedy said:
“This call to action is about helping nurses get through this terrible situation as quickly and safely as possible but also acts as blueprint for shaping future global healthcare policies that put nurses front and centre. We can no longer afford to let their knowledge and leadership skills go to waste, otherwise we risk going from one crisis to the next.”
The 12 main priorities in ICN’s COVID-19 Call to Action are:
Policy Recommendations for Safe & Sustainable Health Workforce Teams to Fight COVID-19
The COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic necessitates governments and donors provide immediate emergency and long-term investments to support sustainable frontline health workforce teams who are educated, recruited, trained, supported, equipped, and protected to prevent, detect, and respond to global health threats.
Please open link to have access to this document: https://www.frontlinehealthworkers.org/sites/fhw/files/fhwc_covid-19_recommendations.pdf
Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility
The Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) – a financing mechanism housed at the World Bank – is designed to provide an additional source of financing to help the world’s poorest countries respond to cross-border, large-scale outbreaks. The PEF complements the much larger role that IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, and other international organizations and donors play in financing outbreak response. The PEF’s design is unique in that payments can go directly to governments and pre-approved frontline responder organizations (such as WHO & UNICEF) and it can do so through either its cash window -- or once triggered through its insurance window.
Reducing risk, promoting resilience and aiding recovery
COVID-19: Resources to address gender-based violence risks
There is already an unsettling amount of information on GBV occurring against the backdrop of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is also becoming increasingly clear that many of the measures deemed necessary to control the spread of the disease are not only increasing GBV-related risks and violence against women and girls, but also limiting survivors’ ability to distance themselves from their abusers as well as reducing their ability to access external support. In addition, it is clear from previous epidemics that during health crises, women typically take on additional physical, psychological and time burdens as caregivers. As such, it is critical that all actors involved in efforts to respond to COVID-19 – across all sectors – take GBV into account within their programme planning and implementation. The majority of the resources contained on this page relate to COVID-19 and GBV risk mitigation across sectors. For additional resources on COVID-19 and GBV specialized services, please visit the GBV AoR website.
Programmatic Guidance for Sexual and Reproductive Health in Humanitarian and Fragile Settings During COVID-19 Pandemic
This document provides programmatic guidance to help maintain essential preventative, promotive, and curative sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in fragile and humanitarian settings during the COVID-19 epidemic threat and outbreak period; including general guidance, the continuation of sexual and reproductive health services, information and communication, and infection prevention and control.