As India Faces Devastating COVID-19 Crisis, UNICEF Is There To Help

Health and critical care facilities are overwhelmed, leaving people without the medical care they so urgently need.

India’s hospitals are overwhelmed by new cases of COVID-19

At the height of the country’s first wave of infections last year, new confirmed cases reached 100,000 per day, putting significant pressure on health care facilities. Now, in just a matter of weeks, the number of new confirmed cases each day has skyrocketed from 15,510 on March 1 to 360,960 on April 28. The total number of infections has risen above 17 million and the official number of deaths is now over 200,000 — the real numbers are believed to be much higher.

UNICEF is sending urgently needed supplies and equipment to critical care centres

The situation in India is “more than heartbreaking,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on 26 April. WHO, UNICEF and other organizations are sending staff and supplies to India to help combat the overwhelming wave of new cases. UNICEF is providing critical oxygen concentrators and diagnostic testing systems, hygiene supplies and personal protective equipment to protect health workers.

Since the pandemic began, UNICEF has been working with partners in India to stop the spread of COVID-19, sharing information with more than 660 million people on how to stay safe from the novel coronavirus and reaching more than 3.6 million with critical water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) supplies and services. Elbow-operated faucets have been installed in schools so that children can wash their hands safely with soap and water, then go home and teach their families about the importance of frequent hand washing.

UNICEF is educating communities on how to stop the spread of COVID-19 and reaching millions with water, sanitation and hygiene services

After community restrooms emerged as a public health risk that contributed to an increase in COVID-19 cases, UNICEF in Mumbai extended its support to an alliance of 150 community organizations that came together to regularly clean and disinfect public restrooms in the city’s most densely populated neighborhoods.

No one is safe until everyone is safe

“We know this is a global pandemic, which means the solution is not just to vaccinate our people, but to make sure that we are reducing infection rates globally,” US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, who has lost several relatives in India as a result of COVID-19, said on April 26. “When cases run out of control, and grow at a high rate in other countries, that means there is a greater chance that variants will develop. Ultimately, no country will be safe if we have an uncontrolled spread of the virus in other parts of the world.”

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