Coronavirus Emergency Appeal: Support our work in affected vulnerable communities in Palestine
The Coronavirus pandemic is threatening the lives of all humans across the globe. It is in these times of crisis where the most vulnerable, the elderly, the poorest and the marginalized are most at risk . In light of the global pandemic of COVID-19, Juzoor for Health and Social Development has immediately shifted to emergency mode and is addressing these risks and supporting the Palestinian communities to support their health and social needs.
On 5 March 2020, the Palestinian Prime Minister declared a State of Emergency across Palestine to contain the spread of COVID-19, after the first cases were confirmed in Bethlehem city. COVID-19 is an international public health crisis that needs to be addressed on all levels. While cases are still, the expected increase in COVID-19 cases will amplify critical challenges, making matters more difficult for the Palestinian health system in caring specifically for vulnerable groups including the elderly, especially those suffering from pre-existing conditions such as hypertension, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes; pregnant women; lactating women; and young children. Additionally, within that crisis is a large vulnerable group including refugees, other displaced people, and people living in marginalized areas who are unfortunately at greater risk as the pandemic evolves.
Making matters worse, with the complex political situation, the full control that Israel has over the borders and resources, withholding the Palestinian tax revenues by Israel, and already being one of the least-developed and worst performing economies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region; this placed a bigger strain on the Government of Palestine (GoP), the Ministry of Health, and other ministries in its effort to combat COVID-19. Additionally, within the next two weeks, a lot of Palestinian workers in Israel are said to be returning home; which unfortunately these workers in Israel represent the loophole that threatens to foil all of the Palestinian government’s measures to prevent the spread of the virus as we seen in the recent outbreak in one of Ramallah’s surrounding villages. If the appropriate prevention measures are not taken and the virus reaches camps, where people are already struggling with inadequate healthcare, poor hygiene and overcrowding, it will spread rapidly and is likely to cause devastating results.
Working for the health, safety and well-being of the Palestinian people and being an essential partner in the health cluster and the National Steering Committee for COVID-19 and is working actively to coordinate between the West Bank and Gaza. Additionally, Juzoor has already taken action during the outbreak of COVID-19 and is currently coordinating with various organizations in taking necessary steps. Working in line with the national needs and priorities, Juzoor has also been working closely with the Ministry of Health (MoH), and other line ministries including the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Social Affairs and has printed COVID-19 related awareness materials for the ministries.
Additionally, over the past several years, Juzoor has been involved in the issue of infection prevention, a crucial component during this time. Staff within our organization have been responsible for setting standards for infection prevention in several settings and have served on the national committee for infection prevention. Juzoor is currently conducting virtual trainings using these protocols and the curriculum developed for this purpose. It has cooperated with the ministry of health, UNFPA, UNICEF and other NGOs, and has systematically involved local capacities that were developed prior under IPC TOT activities in order to support the network in the aspect of infection prevention and build capacities nationally both in the West Bank and Gaza.
As the GoP and ministries are currently busy mitigating the current situation at the national level, Juzoor, with its expertise, has identified key areas that need intervention and is prepared to take quick action to fill in the gaps by targeting the most vulnerable groups. Juzoor has prepared an emergency response plan with eight key interventions mentioned below, including creating job aids within the health system and support of the public at multiple fronts, which is tailored to respond to these needs and demands of the Palestinian population, specifically targeting at-risk vulnerable groups.
- Intervention one: Outreach Support Intervention
- Intervention two: Infection Prevention and Control Virtual Trainings
- Intervention three: Nutrition and Food Safety
- Intervention four: Emergency Health & Hygiene Kits
- Intervention five: Health Information Helpline
- Intervention six: Increase access to reliable health information and addressing unmet needs
- Intervention seven: Positive parenting and physiological support
- Intervention eight: Policy research and public polls
Finally, as the impact of the COVID-19 on health systems increases, our goals are to alleviate the current COVID-19 load on our Ministry of Health system at the practitioner level and help replace fear with confidence in the Palestinian approach to managing this crisis.
Below are highlights of what we have done so far under our emergency response plan. Please visit our page regularly to see how we are responding to the COVID-19 crisis.