Brief: United Nations response to Covid-19 in Pakistan, December 2020

Since the pandemic began, the UN has mobilized to support the Government of Pakistan to address COVID-19’s devastating socio-economic, humanitarian, and human impact. The UN’s three-pronged COVID-19 response is about saving lives, protecting people, and recovering better. First, our immediate WHO-led health response is working to control the transmission of the virus, reduce mortality, and get people the health care they need. Guided by the UN Resident Coordinator, UN agencies are supporting country-level coordination, planning, and monitoring. With risk communication and community engagement, we are raising awareness of the continued threat of COVID-19 as SOP fatigue sets in, just when it is most dangerous: as we brace for a second wave of infections. We are engaging communities, authorities, the media, religious leaders, young people, parents, and vulnerable groups nationwide. We are using different platforms to bust myths and make sure that people receive accurate information – from the mass media, to social media, and helplines. We are supporting surveillance and case identification, enhancing laboratory capacities and testing, and strengthening measures at points of entry. Our infection prevention and control efforts run the gamut from providing personal protective equipment to training frontline workers, disinfecting schools and mosques, building WASH facilities, and providing WASH supplies.

Second, the UN’s humanitarian response is mitigating the humanitarian impacts of COVID-19 with emergency supplies, food and cash assistance, and stronger planning. We are working for the most vulnerable people in Pakistan – from those recovering from floods to those facing the onset of a harsh winter.

Third, our socio-economic response is confronting the human crisis of the pandemic through the five pillars of the UN COVID-19 Pakistan Socio-Economic Framework. We are working to keep public services accessible, households afloat, businesses solvent, supply chains functioning, institutions strong, and human rights at the forefront. Our first priority is health. We are assisting Pakistan’s health system to address COVID-19 while ensuring the continuity of essential services, especially immunization and maternal and child health care. Social protection and basic services are the focus of our second pillar. We are combatting malnutrition and boosting food security, helping children to stay safe in school, and securing support and services for gender-based violence survivors. Economic recovery is our third pillar. We are creating cash-for-work opportunities, training entrepreneurs, and assisting SMEs. Our fourth pillar focuses on multilateral collaboration and macroeconomic response, while our fifth pillar is about social cohesion and community resilience. We are mobilizing Pakistan’s young people to raise awareness of COVID-19 and help Pakistan truly ‘recover better’.

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