10 April 2020 - the number of affected people in Ukraine is on the increase. Only 196 cases were confirmed a week ago: today, April 9, there are more than 1,892 confirmed cases and 57 deaths. And the numbers grow by the day.
To minimize the impact of Covid-19, ACTED’s crisis response efforts are in full motion. After first ensuring risk mitigation for staff and beneficiaries, ACTED is taking the lead in supporting the response to Covid-19 in Eastern Ukraine, where the armed conflict has been raging since 2014.
ACTED supports local mask production and health facilities to enhance Covid-19 preparedness and response capacity. ACTED has already contracted two local companies to produce textile masks, thereby protecting people most at risk and simultaneously supporting local business that are suffering from the economic impact of Covid-19. The 32,200 masks produced by these 2 companies – as a first phase – will be donated to the five raions and two oblasts in Eastern Ukraine, with which ACTED has been working jointly on disaster risk preparedness and response since 2017. As a complement, ACTED has developed instructions onow to use the masks based on global/cluster guidance.
ACTED is investing in Risk Communications and Community Engagement: teams are working continuously on messaging to people in conflict-affected areas, focusing first on those most at risks in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts: the elderly and people with chronic illnesses. ACTED’s messaging focuses on key hygiene and social distancing measures to be taken to stem the spread of the virus . Thus, ACTED printed 12,000 visual information materials nd is disseminating them amongst conflict-affected communities in Eastern Ukraine.
The 3P Consortium team has been working closely with representatives from Donetsk and Luhansk oblast administrations to support their response to Covid-19. In only 9 days, ACTED worked to establish a hotline, which anyone can call to get information on Covid-19, measures against it, and information on the response to the virus. ACTED is thus funding, developing messages for, and supporting the operation of the hotline through two operators with available resources for expansion if needed. ACTED is now a member of the Donetsk oblast crisis management cell, through which we will be supporting for instance mass testing and ensuring support to vulnerable people during quarantine. From April 3 to April 8, over a hundred calls were already received through the hotline.
ACTED is working closely with local administrations in Eastern Ukraine, with whom good relationships have been established through several years of joint work. For instance, ACTED already supported Popasna raion administration with nfectious disease spread in this raion. ACTED will also be providing material support to local administrations, notably to fill the gap left by increased demand of certain items. Thus, ACTED is procuring sanitizers, disinfectants, personal protection outfits, etc.
ACTED also plans to create – together with Donetsk oblast administration – a website to provide psychological assistance to the population and healthcare staff who will be faced with increasing difficulties. In Luhansk oblast, ACTED plans to establish a website for connecting community volunteers with vulnerable people who need support, for instance through the delivery of basic products and medicines.
ACTED Ukraine team was informed during the meeting with Donetsk oblast administration that orphanage in Kramatorsk, where children up to 5 years old are living, is in need of basic hygiene materials: the teams were able to quickly mobilize funds/capacity, and donated masks and sanitizers the day following the request.
Generally, the activities laid out above and the short time that ACTED has to implement or propose support for all form part of the organization’s commitment to take action now: there is no time to waste because people’s lives are at stake.
These activities are made possible thanks to financial support from the European Union and USAID/OFDA.