The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time and the greatest challenge we have faced since World War Two. Since its emergence in Asia late last year, the virus has spread to every continent except Antarctica. Cases are rising daily in Africa the Americas, and Europe.
The pandemic is moving like a wave—one that may yet crash on those least able to cope.
But COVID-19 is much more than a health crisis. By stressing every one of the countries it touches, it has the potential to create devastating social, economic and political crises that will leave deep scars.
We are in uncharted territory. Many of our communities are unrecognizable from even a week ago. Dozens of the world’s greatest cities are deserted as people stay indoors, either by choice or by government order. Across the world, shops, theatres, restaurants and bars are closing.
Every day, people are losing jobs and income, with no way of knowing when normality will return. Small island nations, heavily dependent on tourism, have empty hotels and deserted beaches. The International Labour Organization estimates that 25 million jobs could be lost.
Every country needs to act immediately to prepare, respond, and recover. The UN system will support countries through each stage, with a focus on the most vulnerable.
Drawing on our experience with other outbreaks such as Ebola, HIV, SARS, TB and malaria, as well as our long history of working with the private and public sector, UNDP will help countries to urgently and effectively respond to COVID-19 as part of its mission to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and build resilience to crises and shocks.
“We are already hard at work, together with our UN family and other partners, on three immediate priorities: supporting the health response including the procurement and supply of essential health products, under WHO’s leadership, strengthening crisis management and response, and addressing critical social and economic impacts.” UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner
Strengthening health procurement system and operational support
The Ministry of Health has officially requested UNDP’s support for emergency international procurement of PPE with a waiver from the Prime Minister’s office.
Further requests are anticipated. In early April, UNDP donated 20,000 high-quality surgical masks to Viet Nam's Ministry of Health (MOH) to support health workers on the frontline of the COVID response. Further procurement of medical masks and PPE for MOH is on its way. This builds on and will further strengthen UNDP’s existing partnership and Memorandum of Understanding with MOH on sustainable procurement.
Socio-Economic Impact and Recovery
UNDP together with UN WOMEN is conducting the socio-economic impact assessment (IA) of COVID-19 on MSMEs, poor households, and ethnic minorities. The IA is being undertaken with the National Center for Information and Forecasting. The result will feed into an overall IA of key government agencies. In addition, UNDP is chairing the UNCT’s Economic IA Working Group, contributing to the joint UN socio-economic IA report. These assessments will inform the preparation and implementation of economic recovery plans.
Risk communication and community engagement
UNDP and MOH launched a communication campaign “Spreading the word – #LeaveNoOneBehind” to deliver COVID-19 prevention messages through animation and other communication means. Twenty-one videos have been produced in ethnic minority/ sign languages and featured on national television and social media. Watch the videos in this playlist.
The Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health under MOH, in partnership with UNDP, launched the official English version of the famous #GhenCoVy hand-washing Music Video. The MV is part of Viet Nam’s offering to the world to address the pandemic together. Revenue generated through this video will be channeled to UNDP for COVID-19 response activities.