Brief: UN Reponse to COVID-19 in Pakistan

The UN’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan is two-fold: an immediate WHO-led health response to suppress the transmission of the virus; and a socio-economic response to address the crisis’ social and economic dimensions. Our aim is to support the Government to minimize, mitigate and manage COVID-19’s impact – to save lives, protect people and ‘recover better’. 

UN agencies are ramping up support for country-level coordination, planning and monitoring so that the Government’s COVID-19 response addresses urgent needs. Risk communication and community engagement is saving lives by sensitizing the public on physical distancing, preventive measures, handwashing, hygiene and health-seeking. Alongside surveillance and rapid response, the UN is aiding efforts to stem the spread of the virus at points of entry, helping laboratories scale up testing capacities, spearheading infection prevention and control – including by providing personal protective equipment – and assisting improvements in quarantine facilities and case management to keep patients and health workers safe. 

In tandem, the UN is scaling up an effective socio-economic response. COVID-19 is not only a health crisis. The magnitude of its societal and economic disruption makes this a human crisis like no other. UN support is guided by five pillars of our COVID-19 Pakistan Socio-Economic Framework. Health is our first priority, especially protecting the continuity of essential health services and systems for the most vulnerable – from newborns to women and the elderly. Second, we are focusing on social protection and basic services, from nutrition and food security, to the continuity of education and learning through online and paper-based solutions, and social services, shelters and uninterrupted services for genderbased violence survivors. Third, we are assisting economic recovery to protect the jobs of at-risk workers – from small scale farmers to daily wage labourers – and provide urgent aid for small- and medium-sized enterprises and vulnerable productive actors hit hard by the pandemic. The fourth and fifth pillars of our work are about facilitating macroeconomic response and multilateral collaboration, while cementing social cohesion and community resilience by reaching out to women and girls, men and boys, nationwide.   

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