United Nations entities in South Africa, including UNAIDS, are working closely together to support government and community responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The United Nations in South Africa has jointly engaged with civil society, the private sector and key affected communities, including people living with HIV and tuberculosis, to rapidly respond to the impact of a national lockdown that commenced on 26 March.
PRESS RELEASE: United Nations in South Africa hands over menstrual health and hygiene management products and Covid-19 masks
Pretoria – The United Nations in South Africa, the Government and partners today donated thousands of menstrual health and hygiene management products and masks to the Department of Social Development as part of the UN response to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Marco V. Sánchez Cantillo Deputy-Director, Agricultural Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – Many uncertainties haunt the world’s campaign to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, but one thing is now sure: Global economic activity will suffer greatly, with large-scale consequences for the incomes and welfare of all, but especially for the most vulnerable food import-dependent countries.
COVID-19 does not care who we are, where we live, what we believe or about any other distinction. We need every ounce of solidarity to tackle it together. Yet the pandemic continues to unleash a tsunami of hate and xenophobia, scapegoating and scare-mongering. Anti-foreigner sentiment has surged online and in the streets. Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have spread, and COVID-19-related anti-Muslim attacks have occurred. Migrants and refugees have been vilified as a source of the virus — and then denied access to medical treatment.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 116 million babies have been born since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and on Thursday called for governments to maintain lifesaving services for pregnant women and newborns that are under increasing threat from strained health services and supply chains. New mothers and their babies are facing systems in crisis, including overwhelmed health centres; supply and equipment shortages; and a lack of skilled birth attendants, including midwives. “Millions of mothers all over the world embarked on a journey of parenthood in the world as it was”, said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not only a health crisis, but it is also proving to be an economic disaster for huge numbers of people worldwide. A senior UN official with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is calling for countries to provide citizens with a universal basic income, to help the millions who have lost their jobs, because of measures to curb the virus, combined with increasing levels of inequality.