On 30th January, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new coronavirus a “global emergency”. The virus, which first appeared in China at the beginning of the year, spread rapidly to countries on almost every continent.
To date there are over 1.5 million confirmed cases worldwide, with more than 82,000 dead.
Cesvi has acted from the outset to respond to the emergency in our country, particularly in Lombardy and in the city of Bergamo, the most affected in Italy. Almost a month after the start of our operations we donated 700,000 pieces of protective equipment, over 500 ventilators, a Cardiohelp system, a mobile CT scanner and other essential medical equipment to the Pope John XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, the Alpine field hospital and the care homes. We have also activated social assistance interventions at home for vulnerable people over 65 in both Bergamo and Milan.
But Cesvi’s work in the world does not stop.
In the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Cesvi is activating all possible channels to contribute effectively to the response in the different countries in which it operates.
Cesvi missions actively contributed to the development of the COVID-19 Emergency Situation Report (SitRep) developed by OCHA and the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Response Plan.
Cesvi is also working to raise funds and support local partners and institutions and is planning – or has already started in some cases – specific prevention or response interventions to COVID-19.
In Somalia, in conjunction with the ongoing health intervention in the country, Cesvi is training and managing health professionals to detect cases of COVID-19. Cesvi is also distributing personal protective equipment to frontline staff and is working to raise awareness of the importance of hygiene and prevention, such as through the construction of hand-washing stations in areas where population density is high.
In Pakistan, where there are more than 4,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, Cesvi is active in the construction of latrines and water trucks for quarantine centres and is supplying medical and protective equipment to health workers. A communication and awareness-raising campaign on the risks of COVID-19, to be broadcast in the different local languages, is also planned, aimed at disadvantaged areas of the country where access to traditional media is not possible.
In Palestine, in line with interventions already active in the country, Cesvi is working on environmental health to counter the spread of the virus. In particular, the activities in the initial phase are related to the management of infectious waste from health facilities, quarantine centres and home isolation in both the West Bank and Gaza.
In all Cesvi intervention countries, analyses and studies are under way to activate specific interventions related to the emergency, but many activities to help communities have already started.
In Brazil the operators of the Casa del Sorriso in the favela of Manguinhos, Rio de Janeiro, have activated a door-to-door food delivery service for families who do not have the opportunity to work due to the lockdown. In Haiti, the Casa del Sorriso, which is currently unable to accommodate children for school classes, has begun awareness-raising activities on prevention and hygiene for the families of Wharf Jérémie, one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the capital Port-au-Prince. In Peru, a project has been launched to assist girls at the Casa del Sorriso in Lima, which involves the distribution of food and hygiene kits.
Cesvi continues with great commitment to its work in the world’s southern countries, paying particular attention to those areas where the advent of the Coronavirus could have dramatic consequences, aggravating living conditions already severely compromised by hunger, poverty and widespread vulnerability.
“The people we work with deserve our best efforts at this potentially dramatic time for them. Their children will remember us forever for what we will be able to do to protect them” says Piersilvio Fagiano, Cesvi’s general manager.