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Supporting the vulnerable groups during COVID-19 epidemic
Following the global prevention advice to control the spread of coronavirus, many African countries have been imposing lockdowns on their citizens, recommending and applying social distancing and isolation of those suspected to be affected by the virus. While taking such measures is absolutely necessary to combat the spread of the virus, the lockdown is highly affecting the livelihood of millions of Africans vulnerable people (women, youth, elderly, disabled and people living with HIV) who depend on the informal setting and possess limited capacities and opportunities to cope and adapt in the context of such situation. In addressing such a challenge, India, for example, has announced a $22.6 billion economic package to assist the poorest including providing rice or wheat and lentils to 800 million people or two-thirds of the country; free cooking-gas cylinders to 83 million poor families, and direct cash transfers to 200 million women and the elderly. The SDGC/A recommends the following, drawing lessons from best practices and experiences from different countries on how they are supporting vulnerable people during COVID-19.
- Carefully tailor the general prevention advice to be applied to vulnerable segments of the population in Africa.
- Take proactive measures in identifying, mapping and involving vulnerable community groups such as widows, single moms , unemployed youth groups, people with severe underlying illnesses, disability network, and elders’ association in conducting assessment, designing and implementing emergency support on critical services.
- Allocate emergency budget immediately: mobilize and partner with private sector, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and social assistance networks to strategize and make resources available in the form of immediate food, medical assistance including hygiene supplies and related critical support to vulnerable segments of the population, which are at risk during the lockdown.
- Provide priority assistance and support based on rapid community engagement assessments and disaggregated data (by age, sex.) that allow for targeted interventions. Prioritize and recognize children, women, elderly, and the sick in the emergency interventions.
- Customize the use of existing technologies and communication campaigns tailored to the need and effectively provide the support to vulnerable people.
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