Muslim Aid Global Coronavirus Response
Muslim Aid USA staff, like you, are carefully following the COVID-19 pandemic and what it means for our people, partners, and programs. We wanted to give you an update on our global strategy.
The first cases of COVID-19 related pneumonia were detected in December 2019. Since then, the global number of ‘known’ cases have increased exponentially to 207,855 across 166 countries, with over 8000 deaths. On March 11, 2020, The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic, making it clear that this crisis is global and requires a global response by institutions and individuals.
Muslim Aid (MA), as an institution committed to serving humanity, will participate in this global effort to protect the most vulnerable members of our communities both in the United States and globally. MA is mobilizing its committed staff, partners, and volunteers and utilizing its strong relationship with communities and governments built over its three decades of service to support this global effort.
The novel coronavirus pandemic is currently causing even countries with robust healthcare systems to be strained to its limits and beyond. These systems are struggling to provide the testing facilities, beds, ventilators, and medical staff to meet needs. Serious measures need to be taken to stem the rate at which COVID-19 spreads to ensure healthcare capacities can cope. Known cases outside of Europe, China, and the US constitute less than a quarter of the total cases thus far, but this is expected to change rapidly as testing capabilities improve through efforts made by national governments and WHO. MA works in countries where people are highly vulnerable and facing climatic crises such as droughts and floods, conflict, internal displacements, and refugee camps conditions. Healthcare systems in these countries are some of the most poorly ranked by WHO. For instance, out of 191 health care systems ranked based on responsiveness, health indicators, and fairness, the WHO ranks Myanmar at 190 and Somalia at 167. Efforts are being made by WHO and national governments to increase testing capabilities and prepare national health service systems through trainings for the upcoming crisis. But these health systems will undoubtedly be overwhelmed with the expected rise in the number of cases. WHO’s guidance states that “provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene” is essential to protecting human health for infectious diseases. The focus needs to be placed on personal and community hygiene to ensure that the rate of transmission is controlled for this disease. Additionally, supply chains in these countries are fragile, and there is a is high risk of exasperating existing deficiencies in supply of basic commodities for vulnerable members of the communities including the elderly, people with disabilities, and those with pre-existing conditions.
In consultation with Muslim Aid’s (MA) country teams, a package of interventions has been designed to support the efforts by national health authorities and WHO to protect the most vulnerable members of society and ensure that spikes in cases can be managed by the promotion of sound hygiene practises. The proposed intervention below provides an outline of key initiatives MA country teams will implement. Each country team is in the process of coordinating closely with national health ministries and/or the local health cluster. These discussions will determine which outputs from the intervention design below will be implemented at different country levels.