Vulnerable groups must be supported in COVID-19 responses

17 MARCH 2020

Plan International is calling on governments to consider vulnerable groups as they respond to the spread of COVID-19.

The worst health crisis of a generation is severely challenging the most advanced economies, with rising number of fatalities. The consequences in poorer countries with fragile health systems could be far more devastating. 

Our experience shows girls and young women are particularly hard hit in health emergencies. Although children appear less impacted by COVID-19 than adults, the pandemic will affect the environment in which children grow and develop. The challenges for children, particularly girls, ranging from disruption in education, increased risk of sexual violence and mental health risks, will be much greater in poorer countries.

Supporting disadvantaged and marginalised communities

Plan International is active in over 75 countries and supports thousands of disadvantaged communities through a network of nearly 10,000 staff. 

As a grassroots organisation, we are very concerned how marginalised communities and groups can cope with the wide-ranging health, social and economic impact of this crisis.

Keeping our staff and communities safe

We are closely monitoring the impact on our operations and place utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our staff and communities.

We are following public health guidance issued by national governments and the World Health Organization.

We are following public health guidance issued by national governments and the World Health Organization. The number of cases in countries where we implement programmes are currently low and our field operations remain unaffected so far. 

However, we are assessing how we can continue our programmes and best support children, communities and local systems in low, medium and high transmission situations. 

We are drawing upon our experience of responding in medical emergencies such as the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. We will work to support the most vulnerable children around the world in the best way we can.

Working in partnership

Our response will focus on working with communities, national Governments and partners to tackle the spread of COVID-19 through dissemination of public health information and promotion of best hygiene practices, including installation of handwashing facilities.

We will work with teachers, parents and health care providers to ensure children get the support they need during this crisis. 

We will also intensify support and preventive measures in refugee and displaced camps where we currently work.