Jersey supports vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic
As well as posing a significant health risk, COVID-19 has undermined livelihoods and disrupted essential supply chains, increasing the threat of hunger and resulting in a rise in death from treatable diseases. Vulnerable health systems in low-income countries risk being overwhelmed as they attempt to respond to the pandemic in addition to facing serious restrictions on access to essential medicines. Experts anticipate that the impact of the pandemic will result in a substantial rise of deaths related to diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS, whilst the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 could plunge many back into extreme poverty.
In response to the global impact of the pandemic, JOA has provided emergency funding to four leading humanitarian organisations:
- Funding provided to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is being used to protect and assist refugees and displaced persons, who are particularly at risk during the pandemic as they often have limited access to water, sanitation systems and health facilities.
- JOA is supporting International Health Partners (IHP), an agency that works with pharmaceutical companies to distribute medicine to developing countries in order to ensure that vulnerable health systems continue to have access to essential supplies.
- The British Red Cross, has been granted funds to contribute to their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes raising awareness of ways to prevent infection, supporting heath care services, and meeting the basic needs of communities affected by the pandemic.
- Jersey funds have also been allocated to the Start Network – a rapid pooled financing mechanism created to ensure that funds are available at times of emergencies for NGOs.
Impact on Long-Term Development Projects
With restrictions on movement and assembly now in force in most developing countries, many long-term development projects have had to adapt or curtail project activities. JOA has been working closely with its 35 current grantees to ensure that ongoing projects can adapt or postpone interventions and protect staff and beneficiaries.
In our effort to be a supportive and effective donor, we are arranging No-Cost Extensions and agreeing Activity and Budget Revisions where required. For example, in Ethiopia and Rwanda, some funds have been redirected from activities which cannot currently be implemented, such as workshops and training events, to provide emergency food and hygiene products to vulnerable communities. In addition, several of our partners have taken steps to ensure that their health workers are better protected and trained in disease prevention and control.
JOA continues to closely monitor the situation and is ready to adapt its support to vulnerable to communities as and when the need arises.
Image: Boxes of essential medicines arriving at Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo (photo credit: The Dr Denis Mukwege Foundation)