In a growing effort to protect the world’s most vulnerable against the rapid global spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), World Vision, an international aid agency, said it has increased its response in 17 countries.
A statement copied to Ghana News Agency said in January, World Vision began distributing protection equipment and supplies in Asia, where the virus outbreak was first recorded.
It said teams on the ground were supporting vulnerable communities by promoting prevention behaviours, offering essential health advice and psychosocial support, and engaging government health authorities.
The statement said further action was underway in some of the world’s most fragile contexts including, Afghanistan, DR Congo, Iraq, Haiti and Syria.
“World Vision is warning that the impact coronavirus will have on these countries is likely to be far greater than what we have seen to date in more medically-advanced countries, both directly through COVID-19 deaths, and indirectly through the reduction of life-saving child health services as countries focus on this new disease,” it said.
The statement noted that the World Vision health specialists warned that the impact of COVID-19 could be unprecedented in vulnerable countries and contexts as there was a prevalence of other diseases that compromise immune systems (like HIV) and a lack of advanced and basic medical care.
“The number of countries affected by COVID-19 tripled in the African region and doubled in the Americas region in the past week, and we have seen some very disturbing increases in cases in very poor countries,” it said.
“With new cases of the global pandemic increasing daily, World Vision experts highlight that coronavirus will have a huge impact on the poorest and most vulnerable and poses a major risk to the efforts and progress made to fight poverty and hunger”.
It urged governments to support a united global effort to protect the most vulnerable by rallying support particularly for those who host refugees and displaced children.
“We are getting to an inflection point in a number of countries around the globe and expect to see cases mushroom over the next few weeks.
“We need to help countries with weak health systems prepare as best as they can and while they can for this tsunami of COVID-19 cases that will simultaneously hit multiple regions of the world. There’s no reason that we cannot both prepare high-income and lower-income countries,” the statement said.