Press release: UN and partners launch guidelines to address the needs of most vulnerable groups during COVID-19

Date: Monday, June 15, 2020

CAIRO, 15 June 2020 - Vulnerable groups, particularly women, displaced people, migrants, older persons and people with disabilities, may experience the most harmful impacts of COVID-19. This is due to many factors including discrimination and stigma, their exclusion from effective surveillance and early-warning systems as well as their limited access to primary healthcare services. Their particular needs must be addressed in our response to the pandemic. No one is safe from the virus unless all of us are safe from it.

The new guidelines “COVID-19: How Can Risk Communication and Community Engagement Include Marginalized and Vulnerable People in the Eastern Mediterranean Region” have been issued by the Eastern Mediterranean RCCE Working Group, an inter-agency coordination platform established to provide technical support to COVID-19 preparedness and response in the region. The practical guidelines explain the vulnerability of marginalized groups to the pandemic and how national and local efforts can address them so that no one is left behind.

Since its outbreak in the Eastern Mediterranean region, COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on its public health and economies. But its repercussions have not been felt evenly across societies. Marginalized and vulnerable groups, particularly those living conflict-affected countries, are among the hardest hit by the health and socio-economic impact of the pandemic.

Risk communication and community engagement is an essential tool for governments and development partners to ensure that people are aware of the dangers posed by COVID-19 to themselves and their families, and are accounted for in national and local efforts to stop the spread of the virus. In order for RCCE efforts to be effective, they need to be gender-responsive and include all segments of societies, particularly the most of vulnerable and marginalized social groups

The RCCE Working Group consists of a wide range of organizations including UN Women, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Population Fund, the International Organization for Migration, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and EMPHNET.

The document is a contextualized version of the original guidelines developed by RCCE partners in the Asia and Pacific region.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT : 

UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States

Diego De La Rosa, Regional Communications Specialist

E-mail : diego.delarosa@unwomen.org

Mobile : +66995037177

WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean

Inas Hamam, Communications Officer

E-mail: hamami@who.int

Mobile: +201000157385

UNICEF Middle East and North Africa Regional Office

Juliette S. TOUMA, Regional Chief of Communications

Office: +962-6-550-9624

Mobile: +962-79-867-4628 | +1-917-20-90-817

IFRC Regional Office for Middle East and North Africa

Rana Cassou, Head of Communications

Email : rana.cassou@ifrc.org

Mobile : +96171802779

IOM Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa

Farah Abdul Sater, Regional Media and Public Information Officer

E-mail: fabdulsater@iom.int

Mobile : +201060351567

UNFPA Arab States Regional Office

Samir Aldarabi, Regional Communication Advisor

Phone: +201068484879

Email: aldarabi@unfpa.org

GHD and EMPHNET: Working together for better health

Asma Qannas, Technical Officer, Outreach & Emergency / Public Health Programs

Mob: +962 79 879 0458

Tel.: +962 6 551 9962 | Fax: +962 6 551 9963

Email: aqannas@globalhealthdev.org