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12/09/2022 | Article

Ukraine crisis: Red Cross health centre in Uzhhorod offers relief and comfort

Like many cities in the western part of Ukraine, the health system in Uzhhorod has been overwhelmed. Located near the border with Hungary and Slovakia, the city’s population has increased dramatically with tens of thousands of people seeking refuge. To help meet the growing medical needs of the new arrivals and relieve some of the pressure on local medical facilities, the Ukrainian Red Cross opened a temporary Health Centre in Uzhhorod with the support of IFRC and the Finnish Red Cross. The centre offers consultation, treatment and medication free of charge for people in need. It’s open to everyone, local community members and internally displaced people alike. Medical specialists are assisting people of all ages with their health issues. There’s an on-site pharmacist prescribing medications and a psychologist available for consultation and psychosocial support. "Medications for the heart and blood pressure are the ones prescribed most often. People lived through stressful situations, and it affects their health,” explains pharmacist Olesya Verbovska, who works there with her twin sister Oksana. "People had to leave their homes in a hurry, so they couldn’t bring their regular medication with them. They’re grateful that the Red Cross provides medicine free of charge.” Many patients come from temporary shelters. One of them is 72-year-old Oleksandr Ivanovich from Luhansk who’s staying at the local school. He came to the Health Centre for a blood test and ultrasound. "The only thing I can say is thank you – I’m grateful to everyone who cares for us.” 17-year-old Daryna from Donetsk visited the Red Cross Health Centre with her mother, grandparents and younger brother. Her family members are experiencing many health problems, including allergies and stomach pains. They heard about the health centre from other displaced people in town. "It’s great to have a hospital like this that helps people like us,” Daryna said. Some of the doctors and volunteers working at the Health Centre have also been affected by the conflict, like Dr. Nataliia Vasylivna, a family doctor from Donetsk. "When patients are withdrawn, I tell them that I’m a displaced person just like them. This helps them relax and connect with me. After that, they speak more openly about their problems,” she said. She’s seeing between 15 to 20 patients a day. Some of the most common conditions she is treating are heart diseases, high blood pressure and allergic reactions. "Many patients are also showing signs of chronic stress and start crying as soon as they feel the sympathy from me,” she adds. The health centre also provides psychosocial support six days a week, for adults and children alike. And two volunteers who are doing that can also relate to what patients are experiencing. Daria from Odesa and Ostap from Kyiv both came to Uzhhorod fleeing from the conflict, and started volunteering for the Red Cross there. While helping people deal with their challenges, they got to know each other and have been a couple since May. "We are never bored when we volunteer together. Working with kids can be difficult sometimes, but Ostap is always there to help me,” Daria said. "Daria is an extraordinary person, I have never met anyone like her. We both have a strong urge to help others, and it’s much easier to do with someone you love,” said Ostap.

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25/02/2022 | Emergency

Ukraine and impacted countries crisis

Due to the conflict escalation in Ukraine, millions of people have left their homes and crossed into neighbouring countries. The Ukrainian Red Cross is helping people affected by the conflict as the security situation allows. National Societies in surrounding countries, with support from the IFRC, are assisting people leaving Ukraine with shelter, basic aid items, cash assistance, medical supplies and treatment. People from Ukraine will need long-term, ongoing support. Our priority is addressing the humanitarian needs of all people affected by the conflict, inside and outside Ukraine.

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21/09/2022 | Speech

Universal Health Coverage: IFRC Secretary General addresses the Third Annual Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Global Health

It is an honour to co-host today’s event as part of the Group of Friends on Universal Health Coverage and speak on behalf of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, comprising 192 National Societies and millions of staff and volunteers. Universal Health Coverage, which embodies the right of all people to quality, accessible, affordable, and available health services, reverberates deeply with the IFRC’s core mission to act in the interest of the most vulnerable and alleviate human suffering. Since 2018, we have been scaling up our work on UHC and aligning ourselves with the WHO’s programme of work. As a member of UHC2030, we supported Country Focus Groups before and after the 2019 High Level Meeting to share lived experiences, challenges and achievements in UHC from populations often left behind. This year, the IFRC conducted country consultations across the world with communities and civil society groups to identify barriers to accessing basic health services and to provide key inputs to the State of UHC Commitment report. Despite all progress, we’re witnessing that many vulnerable groups and marginalized populations lack access to lifesaving health services. One year from today, the High-Level Meeting on UHC must serve as a juncture for making the political commitments to strengthen health systems for future generations. First, we must prioritize the health needs of the most vulnerable, especially in situations of disasters, climate crisis, health emergencies and violence. Governments must tackle stigma and discrimination and build trust by integrating vulnerable communities into policy making itself. Women and girls have reported greater difficulties in accessing healthcare, and people on the move are often completely left out of national health schemes. Second, we must invest in ensuring safety and protection of community health workers and volunteers, including our Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers, who have a deep understanding of the risks, vulnerabilities and inequalities that affect the health status of their communities and represent a key resource by working with the formal health system to deliver services. The role of community first responders in ensuring improved and timely coverage of essential health services became even more obvious during the COVID-19 pandemic. Third, governments should develop community health strategies through improved collaboration between public health services, communities, and civil society organizations. More investment is needed in scaling up risk communication and community engagement as a key component of people-centred health systems. We strongly believe in empowering communities and ensuring their meaningful engagement in decision making. Our National Societies, as neutral and impartial actors, can translate the needs of communities into policy, social protection systems, infrastructure, laws and governance issues. Health systems should also be backed by better public health emergency laws that enable systematic responses to pandemics and health emergencies – we have just launched a guidance on public health emergency law to support this. Lastly, and importantly, there is no health without mental health, especially in crisis situations. Health system strengthening means integrating and resourcing mental health and psychosocial support services for all who may need them. Excellencies, colleagues, access to health services is not a privilege and should not be treated as such. We cannot afford to lose the opportunity of next year’s High-Level Meeting and cannot waiver: achieving Universal Health Coverage is the only way forward. We are committed to continuing work with governments and other partners to implement our shared commitments to UHC and stronger health systems for everyone, everywhere. Thank you.

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14/09/2022 | Basic page

Building Trust programme

Building Trust during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Humanitarian Settings is our global programme supporting Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to build trust in public health responses and in the work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

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28/06/2022 | Press release

COVID-19: Red Cross Red Crescent turns to animation to boost global vaccine effort

The animation is in the form of a nature documentary that examines how humanity is coping with the global pandemic and why vaccines are key to controlling COVID-19. “Until the majority of humans are vaccinated, the virus will continue to spread and mutate, creating new variants that could evade the vaccine altogether,” a resonating voice reminiscent of David Attenborough explains in the 90-second animation. “The humans only hope is to share the vaccine amongst themselves.” New analysis by the IFRC reveals that nearly one billion people in Asia and the Pacific are yet to receive a single dose of COVID -19 vaccine. Globally, less than 20 percent of the population have received a single dose in low-income countries, according to Oxford University’s ‘Our World in Data’. John Fleming, IFRC’s Asia Pacific Head of Health, said: “The COVID vaccine has saved millions of lives but too many people are still living in danger.If we want to end this pandemic once and for all, we need to urgently address hesitancy in every country, strengthen local delivery to get doses into arms and transfer vaccine and anti-viral drugs technology to manufacturers in low-income nations." “There has been remarkable cooperation between countries around the world, but this pandemic is not over, and much greater action is needed by leaders in richer countries and pharmaceutical companies to enable equal access to vaccines for people everywhere.” The animation video underlines the need to distribute vaccines among poorer nations with utmost urgency. The video can be downloaded here. The IFRC is asking people to just click on ‘share this video’ until it reaches policy makers, pharmaceutical companies, and government authorities. Its message is simple – people all around the world can take action to vaccinate everyone in all corners of the globe by calling upon their governments to help. Help is needed to ensure supply of vaccines to low-income nations as well as to get those vaccines from the tarmac into the arms of people. The quicker we do this, the safer everyone will be. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: In Bangkok: Preeti Abraham, +66 61 412 3910, [email protected] In Kuala Lumpur: Rachel Punitha, +60 19 791 3830, [email protected]

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28/06/2022 | Press release

COVID-19: Nearly 1 billion still without any vaccination in Asia Pacific

Globally, less than 20 percent of the population have received a single dose in low-income countries, according to Oxford University’s Our World in Data. The IFRC is calling for all governments and pharmaceutical companies to act now to achieve greater vaccine equity. John Fleming, IFRC’s Asia Pacific Head of Health, said: “The COVID vaccine has been one of the most remarkable feats of modern science and it is saving millions of lives but too many people are still living in danger. “It is critical for humanity and for economies that people have access to COVID-19 vaccines in all countries. Vaccine equity is the key to winning the race against new variants.” “We urge richer nations to urgently step up and enable equitable access to lifesaving COVID vaccines for everyone in lower income countries.” “Unless we prioritise protection of the most vulnerable in every country, the administration of multiple booster doses in richer countries is like applying a bandaid to a festering wound.” Globally, slightly over 5 million COVID-19 doses are now administered every day. While some high-income countries including Canada and Australia have purchased around 10 COVID vaccine doses per person, others such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Myanmar have purchased less than two vaccinations per person, according to Duke University’s Launch and Scale Speedometer. More than 6 million deaths are recorded globally, however the World Health Organization estimates that 14.9 million lives have been lost due to the pandemic. COVID infections are rising in almost 70 countries in all regions according to the WHO. “If we want to end this pandemic once and for all, we need to urgently address hesitancy in every country, strengthen local delivery to get doses into arms and transfer vaccine and anti-viral drugs technology to manufacturers in low-income nations,” said Mr Fleming. “There has been remarkable cooperation between countries around the world but this pandemic is not over and much greater action is needed by leaders in richer countries and pharmaceutical companies to enable equal access to vaccines for people everywhere.” Coinciding with the IFRC calls for greater action on vaccine equity, a new animation video has been released highlighting the urgent need to get vaccines to everyone in all corners of every country. The video can be viewed and downloaded here. Globally, Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies have supported more than 400 million people to access COVID-19 vaccines. The network continues to deliver vaccines, tests and treatments to the most vulnerable and is helping to rebuild stronger health systems. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: In Bangkok: Preeti Abraham, +66 61 412 3910, [email protected] In Kuala Lumpur: Rachel Punitha, +60 19 791 3830, [email protected]

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09/06/2022 | Press release

Preventing a second crisis: Health needs extend beyond Ukraine’s borders warns IFRC

Budapest, 9 June 2022 – A crisis is emerging in the shadow of conflict across Ukraine: one that extends beyond the country’s borders. Ukraine’s already stressed healthcare system is buckling under the weight of expectation and medical needs as people continue fleeing conflict areas seeking safety. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is working around the clock to address needs far greater than what’s visible to the eye. “We know it’s possible to prevent a secondary crisis, but no one organization or entity can do it alone,” said Xavier Castellanos Mosquera, IFRC Under Secretary General. More than 290 health care facilities and counting across Ukraine have been damaged or destroyed during the conflict according to the World Health Organization (WHO). More than 1.4 million people are without running water across eastern Ukraine, while UNOCHA reports an additional 4.6 million people in the country at risk for losing access to running water -- a growing risk of water-borne diseases such as acute watery diarrhea. Lack of electricity makes it impossible for water treatment and sanitation efforts to be effective. Health systems in immediate neighbouring countries, including Romania, Belarus, Hungary and Moldova, were already stretched prior to the conflict due to COVID-19. While each country is providing health support to an increased number of people, this can divert valuable health resources away from the people who are still recovering from impacts of COVID-19. The sheer volume of current and future health needs as the conflict continues requires additional resources. “The lack of medical supplies, health care staff and critical infrastructure grow day by day,” said Nick Prince, IFRC Emergency Health delegate. “The millions who have migrated to the western area of Ukraine and eastern European countries are at an elevated risk of infectious diseases given the overcrowded living conditions, limited access to shelter, nutritional stress and exposure to the elements.” On top of these factors, people on the move are forced to delay treatment for existing chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and cancer and, in the absence of vaccinations to meet safe thresholds – including for COVID-19, there is the very strong likelihood of the re-emergence of vaccine preventable diseases. Ukraine also has some of the highest burden of chronic infectious diseases in Europe, particularly HIV and Tuberculosis – a massive risk not only for displaced people themselves, but also for Ukraine’s health care system once they return. “The Red Cross calls on governments and the international community to provide funds for inclusive access to health services and vaccines, testing and treatment, clean water and mental health and psychological support in the long-term,” said Castellanos Mosquera. In Uzhhorod, Ukraine -- where roughly 100,000 people from conflict-torn areas have fled, doubling the city’s population -- a Red Cross health center will open this month to treat both urgent and primary care needs free of charge to all patients. It’s the first of its kind in the area. In collaboration with local authorities, the clinic aims to serve people in need for years to come. The Ukrainian Red Cross has nearly a dozen mobile health teams in the country with more on the way and is providing mental health and psychosocial support to people who have been forced to flee. In addition, food, baby supplies and hygiene items are available to anyone in need. In Moldova, Red Cross teams are preparing to install more handwashing stations and continue to distribute hygiene kits. Access to clean water– the number one prevention mechanism for disease prevention – remains a priority. Red Cross volunteers across eastern Europe are also integrating with teams distributing emergency cash to people who have fled Ukraine to ensure they have access to critical health resources and information. In Hungary, the Hungarian Red Cross, supported by the Spanish Red Cross has set up health posts at the border crossings to provide first aid, primary health care, mental health support and emergency relief to people arriving by train from Chop, Ukraine. For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: In Budapest: Katie Wilkes, +1 312 952 2270, [email protected] Merlijn Stoffels, +31 65 491 8481, [email protected]

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12/05/2022 | Press release

Global COVID-19 Summit: “World leaders must step up and ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to vaccines, tests and treatments.”

Geneva, 12 May 2022 - During the second Global COVID-19 Summit co-hosted by the White House, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) Secretary General Jagan Chapagain underlined the network’s commitment to delivering COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments to the most vulnerable and building back stronger health systems. While many countries have successfully rolled out COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, vaccine coverage remains below 10 per cent in many low-income countries including, Papua New Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti or Madagascar. Low-income countries can also not afford tests and other lifesaving tools such as antiviral drugs or oxygen supplies, leaving millions at risk of contracting the virus and suffering its deadly consequences. Mr. Chapagain said: “World leaders must step up and ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to vaccines, tests and treatments. This means targeting those who are most vulnerable, have the greatest needs and are the hardest to reach. This pandemic is still spreading and killing people. It is too soon to drop our guard and give up our global efforts against COVID-19.” Since the start of the pandemic, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have supported more than 400 million people to access COVID-19 vaccination and provided mental health support to over 13 million people in 152 countries. Because they are part of the very communities they serve, their role is also critical to building trust, informing communities about public health measures and boosting vaccine uptake. For example, across Asia and the Pacific, millions of volunteers have helped tens of millions of people get vaccinated against COVID-19. Afghanistan has one of the world’s most fragile health systems and has vaccinated only 12% of its population with two doses. The Afghan Red Crescent has been operating a 50-bed hospital dedicated to COVID-19 patients and provided food or cash to more than 165,500 people. More than 1 million people were screened through their Mobile Health Teams and clinics in 2021. In Namibia where only 16% of the population has been fully vaccinated, the Namibia Red Cross has led a “get vaccinated – kick COVID-19 out of Namibia” road show campaign. Red Cross volunteers walk through the streets in communities around the country, carrying signs, singing songs, and leading chants about vaccination. At COVID-19 vaccination sites, Red Cross volunteers also support registration for vaccination and data entry and provide basic first aid. During the Summit, Mr. Chapagain expressed IFRC’s support to a pandemic financing mechanism that would allow community actors to access funding to strengthen community health systems and to increase their resilience to future health threats. Mr. Chapagain said: “We need to prepare for the next pandemic now. The world wasn’t ready for COVID-19, but we can be for the next pandemic. We must harness the lessons, successes and failures from the response to COVID-19 and build towards a future where communities are equipped to respond to the next health crisis.” To request an interview or for more information, please contact: In Washington: Marie Claudet +1 202 999 8689, [email protected] Click here to discover more examples of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' vaccination activities during COVID-19.

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12/03/2021 | Basic page

Care in Communities

The IFRC and our 192 National Societies are training community-based health workers and volunteers to deliveressential community healthservices. In doing so, we’re addressing the global shortage of health care workers and contributing to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and universal health coverage (UHC) agenda.

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27/04/2022 | Article

World Immunization Week: going the last mile to keep communities safe from COVID-19

Immunization is the foundation of healthy communities. And right now, in the continued fight against COVID-19, vaccines are one of many important tools we have to keep communities around the world safe and healthy. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is supporting COVID-19 vaccination efforts in 172 countries. And, together, our National Societies have supported more than 325 million people to access COVID-19 vaccination globally. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve made special efforts to reach vulnerable, marginalized and hard-to-reach communities worldwide. To go what we call the ‘last mile’—because all people, no matter who or where they are, deserve access to health services, vaccines, testing and lifesaving treatment. And because we know that no one is safe until everyone is safe. So, what does this work actually look like? Scroll down to discover photos and examples from five different countries: Papua New Guinea, Libya, Zambia, Kyrgyzstan and Canada. And if you like what you read, sign up to the IFRC’s immunization newsletter for a monthly round-up of immunization activities in response to COVID-19 and other diseases. Papua New Guinea Papua New Guineahas one of the lowest vaccination coverage rates in the world. The Papua New Guinea Red Cross is working closely with provincial health authorities in the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, and a crucial part of this work involves building public confidence in vaccination. Volunteers are providing accurate, reliable and trusted public health information about COVID-19 vaccination. In many cases, they work in partnership with local community groups—such as the Country Women Association in Madang province—to reach people in spaces they already feel comfortable in. By listening and responding to people’s concerns about the vaccines, they are dispelling people’s fears and encouraging more and more people to come forward for their jab. Libya The Libyan Red Crescent Society is partnering with the Libyan National Centre for Disease Control to support the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination—with a focus on community engagement and logistical support. More than 600 volunteers have been going out and about in their communities to engage with local people and answer their questions about vaccines. Volunteers have been helping with vaccine registration and data entry, so people can sign up for their jabs, and several Libyan Red Crescent health clinics in the south of the country are currently being used as vaccination centres. Zambia Zambia Red Cross Society volunteers are running a mobile COVID-19 vaccination campaign to take vaccines out to remote and hard-to-reach communities across the country. They’re working with trusted local community leaders, helping them to be advocates for COVID-19 vaccines so that their communities feel confident coming forward. Volunteers are also working hard to continue routine immunization activities across the country so that all Zambian children are fully immunized before the age of 5. Kyrgyzstan Hundreds of Kyrgyzstan Red Crescent Society volunteers across the country have dedicated their time to supporting the Ministry of Health and Social Development’s rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. They set up a special COVID-19 vaccination hotline to answer the public’s questions and address rumours and misinformation about vaccines. And they’ve been deployed to vaccination centres to lead vaccine registration and data entry so people can easily schedule their appointments. Canada In Canada, the Canadian Red Crosshas been supporting provincial, territorial and Indigenous health authorities in vaccination efforts among remote and Indigenous communities. For instance, in Northern Alberta, CRC’s Indigenous staff have been embedded into mobile vaccination teams to help understand and address the roots of vaccine hesitancy. They’ve been supported virtually by an Indigenous People’s Help Desk, set up to respond to the unique needs of Indigenous leadership during the pandemic. -- For more information, visit our immunization page or sign up to the IFRC's monthly immunization newsletter.

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10/06/2021 | Basic page

Drug disorders

The IFRC network provides strong advocacy, prevention, treatment and care services for people who use drugs. Our aim is to help National Societies better support people with drug disorders, with a focus on harm reduction and tackling stigma and social exclusion.

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10/06/2021 | Basic page

Emergency health

The IFRC and our 192 National Societies striveto reduce illness and death, improve health and maintain people’s dignity during emergencies.Our emergency health team works to improvethequality, reliability, predictability andflexibilityof our health services around the world in preparation for emergencies.

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10/03/2022 | Press release

Ukraine: Millions at risk as health concerns exacerbate vulnerabilities

Budapest/Geneva, 10 March 2022 – As the conflict continues in Ukraine and a cold front descends, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warns of the dire health - including the spread of COVID-19 - and mental health consequences for millions of people both inside and outside of the country. The fighting in Ukraine has continued for two weeks and no one has been left unscathed. An estimated 18 million people – a third of the country’s population – will need humanitarian assistance, and more than 2.3 million people have fled to neighbouring countries. As the lives of millions are being upended, there is a real concern of diseases spreading, pre-existing health conditions worsening and mental health concerns increasing. “Many of the people affected were already vulnerable before the conflict and now face an even harsher situation as they are losing their homes and their livelihoods, being forced to seek shelter wherever they can or fleeing their country in search of safety. They urgently need food, water and shelter, but also emergency medical care, protective measures and psychosocial support to avert an even greater humanitarian catastrophe,” said Birgitte Bischoff Ebbesen, IFRC Regional Director for Europe. At the Przemyśl railway station in Poland, a woman was crying and being comforted by a volunteer from the Polish Red Cross. When asked what had happened, she answered that she had spent the whole night and day waiting for the train from Ukraine that would bring her daughter to safety. The train had finally arrived, but her daughter had not. People fleeing conflict often experience highly distressing situations, loss and trauma, which may impact their mental health and ability to cope. Psychosocial support will be needed in the days, weeks, and months to come. In conflict settings, public health measures to prevent diseases from spreading become extremely challenging. People are forced to shelter in crowded spaces with limited sanitary conditions or access to basic health services, which increases the risk of infectious disease outbreaks, such as tuberculosis and diarrheal diseases. The spread of COVID-19 is a particular concern as the vaccination rate in Ukraine is among the lowest in Europe with only one-third of the population having received the first dose. Ukraine also has one of the highest rates of multidrug resistant tuberculosis in the world. Adding to what is already a desperate situation, temperatures are dropping below freezing. There is an urgent need for warm clothing and adequate shelter to shield people in temporary locations and those who are queuing at the borders from the elements, the majority of whom are women, children and older people. “Our Red Cross and Red Crescent teams in Ukraine and neighbouring countries are doing their utmost to support anyone in need, in particular those who are most at-risk including unaccompanied minors, single parent households, older people, and people with disabilities. They have the full support of IFRC and our global network, but more funding is desperately needed as millions of lives are at stake. Even if the armed conflict was to end tomorrow, the humanitarian consequences will be felt for years to come,” said Bischoff Ebbesen. Notes to editors In Ukraine, Red Cross teams are providing first aid and first aid training, helping in reception centres and to transport people to safety, and distributing relief items, including warm clothes. Despite the mortal danger they themselves are under, 3,000 new local volunteers have stepped up to support their neighbours. In Hungary, Red Cross teams are operating three health service points at the border. They are also running reception and collection centres where they are welcoming people crossing from Ukraine and distributing relief goods. In Poland, where 60 per cent (more than a million) of people from Ukraine are fleeing, the Polish Red Cross has activated more than 20 rescue teams, including approximately 450 medics, who are providing round-the-clock health care and psychosocial support at five of the eight border points as well as in major cities. In Moldova, volunteers and staff from Moldova Red Cross have provided support to approximately 200,000 people who have crossed over from Ukraine. They are at all border crossing points offering hot tea, warm food, diapers, and personal protective equipment including face masks and sanitizer. Volunteers are also helping at reception centres, assisting with food preparation and playing with children. In Russia, Red Cross teams have delivered 187 tonnes of aid including clothing, hygiene kits, baby products and household items. They are providing psychosocial support, have opened a mental health support hotline and, to date, have provided 756 consultations. More than 160 calls have come in to the restoring family links hotline. In Romania, volunteers and staff from the local Red Cross are at various border crossings distributing food items, water, basic necessities, hygiene products, and thousands of SIM cards to people in need. The Red Cross is helping local authorities in equipping reception centres with tents, bedding, food and hygiene and baby items. Volunteers are also visiting placement centres, playing with children and helping local staff to prepare food and other necessary support. In Slovakia the Red Cross is at all three of the country’s border crossings, where teams are providing services such as warming shelters, referrals to essential services, and first aid. As people are quickly moving on from the border area, the Red Cross is quickly scaling up support along the routes. This support includes psychosocial support and providing child-friendly spaces; social services, particularly referrals for services such as education, healthcare and registration for legal status; providing first aid, health assessments, referrals to clinical care and COVID-19 testing. For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: In Budapest: Kathy Mueller, [email protected], +1 226 376 4013 In Budapest: Nora Peter, [email protected], +36 70 953 7709 In Geneva: Caroline Haga, +358 50 598 0500, [email protected] Read more about the IFRC's emergency appeal for Ukraine and impacted countries. Photos and videos: Ukraine - Romania - Hungary - Croatia - Poland - Slovakia - Russia - Moldova - IFRC Newsroom

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24/01/2022 | Article

IFRC statement at the World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board 150th session

The IFRC was born out of the 1918 Pandemic, and Epidemic Preparedness and Response are part of our DNA. We have a historic opportunity to reform the global health architecture this year. Let me propose 3 lenses through which we should measure success: First, epidemics thrive on socio-economic and geographic inequities, affecting levels of trust, access to health services and quality of surveillance - let us not ignore this and over-medicalize our discussions. Second, it is crucial that domestic disaster laws and frameworks, including public health emergencies, go beyond IHR capacities to be truly comprehensive and inclusive. Finally, having effective vaccines, tests and treatments available at scale is critical, but it will not ensure their uptake or availability in communities. Community engagement and health systems are key to leaving no one behind. The IFRC and its 192 member National Societies stand ready to share their legal and health expertise and recommendations to ensure reforms are not only powerful on paper, but transformative in reality. -- Click here to learn more about the IFRC's work in health and care.

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19/01/2022 | Press release

WHO and IFRC partnership aims to build regional capacity in responding to key public health challenges

19 January 2022, Cairo-Beirut – The WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari and the Regional Director of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance collaboration to support countries in the Middle East and North Africa respond effectively to key public health challenges. The aims of the agreement between WHO and IFRC are to strengthen the support provided to countries in order to improve the health and well-being of populations living in emergencies and protect and improve the health of vulnerable groups through ensuring access to essential health services, in addition to strengthening country capacity to provide access to sustainable, affordable and quality health services across the life course. The agreement also aims to strengthen leadership, governance and advocacy for health. During the virtual ceremony, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, expressed his appreciation of WHO’s valued partnership with IFRC. “With a long history of collaboration with IFRC and working together to serve humanity, I am confident that this joint agreement can serve as a roadmap for us to strengthen support to countries and enhance national efforts to address key public health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond in order to meet the urgent health needs of all people in the region. It is a true interpretation of our vision; health for all by all: a call for action and solidarity”. In his opening remarks, Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, IFRC’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa said, “Addressing current and future humanitarian challenges requires the strong commitment of all partners and courageous leadership that focus on locally led actions and interdependence. We are honoured to work alongside WHO and leverage our volunteer network to advance progress towards universal health coverage, strengthen emergency response and preserve the dignity of all people.” Dr. Rana Hajjeh, Director of Programme Management at the WHO Regional Office, noted that the memorandum of understanding focused on the health challenges related to emergencies such as outbreaks, epidemics and the COVID-19 pandemic. “The pandemic has been a game changer for all countries and demonstrated the importance of effective preparedness and response to emergencies, and it has highlighted how, we as international organizations, can provide targeted support to countries to help them build capacity and strengthen community resilience.” Rania Ahmed, Deputy Regional Director of IFRC, noted, “Today, the WHO/IFRC agreement is reaffirming our continued commitment to work together to create change that results in a positive impact on people’s lives. Our partnership emphasizes the need to develop policies that respond to community needs and promote effective community engagement and support to shape evidence-based responses that allow results at scale.” The collaborative partnership between WHO and IFRC aims to further build on country progress to achieve universal health coverage and enhance national health systems. It focuses on strengthening regional capacity to effectively prepare for, and respond to, emergencies. One of the top priorities for WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region is to ensure and availability of mental health and other essential health services for all people, including displaced persons and refugees. The memorandum of understanding takes immediate effect and will be implemented with the direct involvement of all national stakeholders and WHO country offices in the region. For more information: Rana Sidani Cassou, IFRC MENA: +41796715751; [email protected] Mona Yassin, WHO EMRO: +201006019284; [email protected] We are honoured to work alongside WHO and leverage our volunteer network to advance progress towards universal health coverage, strengthen emergency response and preserve the dignity of all people, IFRC MENA Regional Director Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi said during the virtual signing ceremony. With this distinctive partnership with IFRC , we can jointly steer the public health agenda at regional, and more importantly, at country level; working together towards achieving Universal Health Coverage, WHO Regional Director Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari said during the virtual ceremony.

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02/12/2021 | Press release

“Impulsive reactions are an affront to the global solidarity we need to successfully respond to a crisis of this scale.”

“The consensus reached among Member States this week to commit to a legal instrument that has preparedness, equity and a whole-society approach at its centre, is crucial. That the discussions this week took place in the shadow of Omicron, could not more clearly evidence the need for global collaboration to prepare and respond to pandemics. “But broad principles agreed are not enough. When Member States next meet, they will need to drill down on exactly what is required to achieve these. We also need to keep in mind that this process is an opportunity to address the mistrust that has plagued the response, and so we urge member states to keep communities at the centre of discussions. We need to build on what has been learnt and instrumentalize an approach to global pandemics that is powerful on paper, and transformational in reality.” Commenting on the Omicron variant discovery, Chapagain added: “It has been an illusion to believe that speedy vaccination in some countries, while massive pockets of the world remain without access to vaccines, will bring this pandemic to an end. And instead of applauding the great science and the transparency that helped to uncover a new variant, countries punished it with impulsive reactions. This is an affront to the global solidarity we need to successfully respond to a crisis of this scale.” For further information In Geneva: Ann Vaessen, [email protected], +41 79 405 77 50

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28/05/2020 | Emergency

COVID-19 outbreak

More than two years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020, every aspect of people's lives are still affected. Our focus remains on supporting communities to reduce transmission and save lives, while helping the world's most vulnerable people cope with its wide-ranging impacts. Many Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies are supporting national vaccination campaigns and a targeted IFRC immunization plan aims to help 500 million people around the world.

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12/03/2021 | Basic page

Community health

Everyone, everywhere has the right to good health. Within their communities, our millions of Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers are working hard to promote good health, prevent disease, and reduce suffering.

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04/05/2021 | Basic page

Health and care

Everyone, everywhere should have access to the health services they need, including during emergencies. Our 192 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reach millions of people every year with a wide range of health and care services, improving health and well-being for all.

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03/09/2021 | Press release

الإتحاد الدولي: هناك حاجة ماسة إلى الإسراع في التلقيح ضد كوفيد19 لوقف موجات الانتشار في شمال أفريقيا

بيروت، 2 أغسطس/آب 2021 – يعبّر الاتحاد الدولي لجمعيات الصليب الأحمر والهلال الأحمر في الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا عن قلقه من أن يؤدي تزايد انتقال فيروس كوفيد19 في المنطقة إلى إحداث تأثير كرة ثلج تصيب كل بلدان المنطقة وترتب أثارا صحية واجتماعية واقتصادية كارثية. ويدعو الإتحاد الدولي الى تعزيز عمليات التلقيح وتدابير الحماية من العدوى والوقاية منها. وأبلغت تونس والجزائر والمغرب وليبيا عن أكبر عدد من الحالات الجديدة في الأسابيع الماضية، حيث شهدت تونس أكبر زيادة في عدد الوفيات الجديدة. وتتزايد المخاوف بشأن المستقبل مع استمرار انتشار الفيروس بأشكاله المتحورة واتجاه النظم الصحية الى الانهيار، واستمرار تأخر معدلات التطعيم في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا بشكل خطير. وقال الدكتور هيثم قوصة رئيس وحدة الصحة في الاتحاد الدولي: "إنّ تأخر بعض الدول في حملات التلقيح لن يؤدي إلا إلى إطالة أمد الوباء، ليس في المنطقة فحسب، بل على الصعيد العالمي. وتواجه بلدان عديدة مواطن ضعف أخرى، بما في ذلك الصراعات والكوارث الطبيعية ونقص المياه والتشرد وغير ذلك من الأمراض المعدية. وهذا يجعل الناس أكثر عرضة للآثار المدمرة فيروس لكوفيد19. وينبغي أن يكون هذا وحده سببا كافيا للتضامن العالمي لضمان الحصول العادل على اللقاح في المنطقة. وعلى الصعيد العالمي، يعد الإنصاف في اللقاحات عاملا رئيسيا في الحد من احتمال وجود نسخات متحورة اضافية للفيروس. وهذه هي الطريقة الوحيدة التي يمكننا بها إنهاء هذا الوباء حقا". ويستمر متطوعو وموظفو الصليب الأحمر والهلال الأحمر بالعمل على خط المواجهة في الاستجابة منذ بداية الجائحة بدعم من الاتحاد الدولي من خلال: 1. الجهود المبذولة لتسريع حملات التطعيم الوطنية. 2. تقديم المساعدات النقدية والطرود الغذائية ومستلزمات النظافة والكمامات. 3. توفير الإمدادات الطبية بما في ذلك أجهزة تكثيف الأكسجين وأجهزة التنفس الصناعي والمولدات الكهربائية وأدوات الحماية الشخصية للسلطات الصحية المحلية. 4. رصد حملات التطعيم من أجل التأكد من جودة تطبيقها وفقا للمعايير الدولية والإنصاف. 5. الدعم التقني الخاص بالإعلام والنشر حول المخاطر والمشاركة المجتمعية. وعلى الرغم من الخطاب النبيل بشأن التضامن العالمي من حيث الإنصاف في اللقاحات، هناك فجوة قاتلة في الخطة العالمية لتوزيع لقاحات كوفيد19 توزيعا عادلا. على سبيل المثال في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا، تم إعطاء 10 جرعات فقط لكل 100 شخص في العديد من البلدان، بما في ذلك ليبيا والجزائر ومصر والعراق. في سوريا واليمن، كان هناك أقل من جرعة واحدة لكل 100 شخص. وقال الدكتور حسام فيصل، رئيس وحدة الكوارث والمناخ والأزمات في الاتحاد الدولي: "تذكرنا موجات الوباء الجديدة بأن المعركة ضده لم تنته بعد للأسف. ومع ذلك، فإنه يسلط الضوء أيضا على الدور الحاسم لموظفي ومتطوعي الصليب الأحمر والهلال الأحمر كجهات فاعلة محلية موثوق بها وقادرة على الاستجابة بسرعة لموجات جديدة من الانتشار. وفي جميع أنحاء المنطقة، يعمل المتطوعون والموظفون بلا كلل لدعم النظم الصحية، والمساعدة في حماية المجتمعات المحلية، وضمان أن تصل اللقاحات الى الفئات الأكثر ضعفا. ولكن بدون المزيد من اللقاحات، لا يمكن أن تكون هناك حملات تطعيم". ملاحظات إلى المحررين الجزائر في الأسابيع الأربعة الماضية، نرى زيادة حادة في انتشار عدوى كوفيد19. واستجابة للذروة الأخيرة، قام الهلال الأحمر الجزائري بزيادة أنشطته بسرعة بمجرد أن ارتفعت الأرقام إلى مستوى ينذر بالخطر، لكن الوضع لم ينته بعد. وقد تم بالفعل تطعيم أكثر من مليوني شخص من قبل أطباء وممرضي الهلال الأحمر ليس فقط في المدن ولكن أيضا في المناطق النائية. وقد تم افتتاح العديد من مراكز التطعيم مؤخرا للوصول إلى الهدف الوطني الذي حددته السلطات وهو تلقيح 20 مليون شخص بحلول نهاية عام 2021. ويعمل أكثر من 20.000 متطوع على: 1. دعم السلطات في حملات التطعيم. 2. توزيع مليوني كمامة منذ بداية الوباء و100.000 مجموعة من أدوات النظافة للأسر التي تعيش في المناطق النائية. 3. توفير المكثفات الأكسجين للمستشفيات في مناطق تكثر فيها حالات الإصابة. تونس وفي الأسابيع الماضية، سجلت تونس أكبر عدد من الوفيات اليومية منذ بداية الوباء في ظل انتشار المتحور دلتا وانخفاض توافر اللقاح. وتكافح نظم الرعاية الصحية للتعامل مع هذه الزيادة وخاصة أقسام العناية المركزة التي هي مشغولة بالكامل. ويثقل الفيروس كاهل الأطباء بالتفشي السريع للحالات وتزايد عدد الوفيات. لدى تونس واحد من أعلى معدلات وفيات الفرد في العالم. ولا تزال حملات التطعيم تسير بشكل بطيء. وحتى 29 يوليو/تموز 2021، ومن بين 11.7 مليون نسمة، تم تطعيم 1.677446 مليون نسمة بجرعة واحدة على الأقل (14.1٪). في حين أن 934.004 ( 7.9 ٪ ) تم تطعيمهم بالكامل. وقد عزز الهلال الأحمر التونسي، كهيئة مساعدة للسلطات العامة، استجابته للاحتياجات الإنسانية المتزايدة، وركز على دعم النظام الصحي في البلاد من خلال حملات التوعية بالمخاطر، وتوفير الرعاية المنزلية لمكثفات الأكسجين، فضلا عن توفير وسائل الوقاية الشخصية مثل الكمامات وغيرها من المواد للعاملين الصحيين في الخطوط الأمامية. ويواصل 3000 متطوع منتشرين من 24 فرعا في جميع أنحاء البلد حملات التوعية، ويساعدون السكان في التسجيل على منصة التطعيم ولا سيما كبار السن والمهاجرين وسكان المناطق الريفية النائية، ويوزعون في الوقت نفسه الغذاء ومستلزمات النظافة. في جميع مراكز التطعيم تقريبا، يساعد متطوعون العاملين الصحيين في التحقق من التسجيل والمواعيد، ومراقبة أي آثار جانبية قد تحصل ما بعد التطعيم مباشرة. وفي الأسبوعين الماضيين، قام الاتحاد الدولي والهلال الأحمر القطري والهلال الأحمر الكويتي بشحن أكثر من عشرة أطنان من المعدات الطبية، بما في ذلك أجهزة تركيز الأكسجين والتنفس الصناعي ومعدات الحماية الشخصية والمطهر إلى الهلال الأحمر التونسي. وقد ساعد الهلال الأحمر التونسي 10 ملايين شخص منذ بداية الجائحة من خلال حملات التوعية في الأماكن والمؤسسات العامة، وإجراء الفحص والفرز، وإدارة طوابير الانتظار أمام المرافق العامة ومراكز التطعيم. المغرب هناك زيادة حادة في الحالات في الأسابيع الأربعة الماضية. وقد شهد المغرب زيادة بنسبة 40٪ في عدد الإصابات في الأسبوع 29 مقارنة بالأسبوع السابق. وفي 14 تموز/يوليو لم يحصل سوى 27 في المائة من السكان على التطعيم الكامل. وقد حشد الهلال الأحمر المغربي أكثر من 2000 متطوع لدعم حملات التطعيم إلى جانب الأطباء والممرضين. وبالإضافة إلى ذلك، ينشط 000 5 متطوع في 75 فرعا في جميع أنحاء البلد لتوعية السكان بأهمية اللقاح وتعزيز احترام رسائل الاتصال المتعلقة بالمخاطر. وبدعم من الاتحاد الدولي ، توزع الجمعية الأغذية والأدوية ومواد النظافة والكمامات في المناطق الحضرية في المناطق النائية التي تصل إلى ما لا يقل عن 190,000 أسرة. ويؤثر الوباء على الصحة العقلية للسكان. لذا تدرب 150 متطوعا على الإسعافات الأولية النفسية والاجتماعية، وأداروا الخط الساخن للاستماع إلى المجتمع، وتقديم الإسعافات الأولية النفسية، وتلقي طلبات للحصول على الأدوية والغذاء، وما إلى ذلك. ليبيا يضيف وباء كوفيد19 تحديا إضافيا على التحديات التي تسبب فيها النزاع المسلح والتي أدت إلى ضعف نظام الرعاية الصحية، والوضع الاقتصادي المتردي، ونقص الخدمات الأساسية والظروف الإنسانية الخطيرة التي يعاني منها المواطنون والمهاجرون عبر البحر الأبيض المتوسط. وتشهد ليبيا حاليا زيادة في عدد حالات الإصابة، حيث سجلت في 13 يوليو أعلى معدل يومي لها من الإصابات بزيادة قدرها 161٪ مقارنة بالأسبوع السابق. ومع انخفاض معدل التطعيم، يمكن أن تزيد أثار هذه الموجة من معاناة المواطنين. ولمحاربة هذه الموجة، فرضت ليبيا تدابير احترازية جديدة للحد من معدلات العدوى شملت إغلاق الحدود مع تونس المجاورة وإغلاق المقاهي والمطاعم، وحظر حفلات الزفاف والجنازات، ووقف وسائل النقل العام لمدة أسبوعين. تقوم جمعية الهلال الأحمر الليبي بالتنسيق مع الاتحاد الدولي بدعم المجتمعات المضيفة والمهاجرين بالمواد الغذائية ومواد النظافة والخدمات الصحية وحماية الأطفال ونقاط الخدمات الإنسانية للمهاجرين والمشاركة في أنشطة نشر الوعي حول المخاطر والمشاركة المجتمعية، والوقاية وأهمية التحصين ضد المرض. ويؤدي الهلال الليبي دورا رئيسيا في إدارة مواقع التطعيم في جميع أنحاء ليبيا مع المركز الوطني لمكافحة الأمراض المشتركة. وقد وصل المركز مباشرة إلى 500 35 شخص في رده على من خلال الدعم المقدم من الاتحاد الدولي لجمعيات الصليب الأحمر والهلال الأحمر. لمزيد من المعلومات في بيروت: رنا صيداني كاسو، مسؤولة قسم الإعلام 0096171802779 [email protected]

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06/09/2021 | Emergency

Afghanistan: Humanitarian crises

Afghanistan is experiencing the compounding effects of decades of conflict, severe drought, food insecurity, climate-related disasters, displacement and gaps in health services. A deadly 5.9 magnitude earthquake also struck the south east of the country on 22 June, claiming at least 1,000 lives. This revised Emergency Appeal seeks 90 million Swiss francs, increased from an initial 36 million Swiss francs in August 2021, to further scale up the Afghan Red Crescent Society's (ARCS) humanitarian response to multiple humanitarian crises in Afghanistan. Funds raised enable the IFRC to support the ARCS to deliver assistance and support to 1,000,000 people in all 34 provinces.

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18/08/2021 | Press release

COVID-19: Southeast Asia battles world’s highest deaths

Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 18 August 2021:Southeast Asia is battling the world’s highest COVID-19 death toll driven by the Delta variant and unequal global distribution of vaccines. Hospitals remain overwhelmed by record surges across Southeast Asia, from Vietnam to Malaysia and Myanmar as fears mount of greater suffering and loss of life with COVID-19 spreading from cities to rural and regional areas. In the last two weeks, Southeast Asia has recorded38,522 deaths from COVID-19, nearly twice as many as North America, according to theJohn Hopkins UniversityCOVID-19 data dashboard. Alexander Matheou, Asia Pacific Director, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said: “This COVID-19 surge driven by the Delta variant is claiming a tragic toll on families across Southeast Asia and it’s far from over. We fear that as the virus spreads from cities to regional and rural areas that many more lives will be lost among the unvaccinated. “Vaccinations are at record rates in some countries, yet many Southeast Asian nations have low portions of the population fully vaccinated and are languishing far behind Western Europe and North America.” The United Kingdom has fully vaccinated 60 per cent of its population, while Canada and Spain stand at around 64 per cent, according to Oxford University’sOur World in Data. By contrast, Malaysia has fully vaccinated 34 per cent of its population against COVID-19, Indonesia and Philippines, close to 11 per cent and Vietnam less than 2 per cent. Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and most Southeast Asia countries are all battling record COVID-19 infections or death tolls. Seven of the top 10 countries where COVID-19 deaths have doubled the fastest are in Asia and the Pacific, with Vietnam, Fiji and Myanmar all in the top five, according toOur World in Data. “In the short-term, we need much greater efforts by richer countries to urgently share their millions of excess vaccine doses with countries in Southeast Asia. We also need vaccine companies and governments to share technology and scale up production,”Mr Matheou said. “These coming weeks are critical for scaling up treatment, testing and vaccinations, in every corner of all countries in Southeast Asia. We must aim for mass vaccination rates of 70-80 per cent if we want to win the race against the variants and overcome this global pandemic.” Until vaccination levels reach a critical mass, in the short-term it is also crucial to reinforce health protection measures, such as wearing a mask, physical distance and meeting outdoors or in well ventilated spaces. The IFRC is seeking vital funding for its global emergency COVID-19 appeal, with around 60% of the appeal covered so far. The funds are crucial to support the lifesaving actions of the IFRC and member Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies around the world. Photos of Red Cross and Red Crescent activities are available for download

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12/08/2021 | Article

Amman Humanitarian Declaration: Concerted efforts to help as many people as possible in Iraq, Jordan and Egypt

Amman: August 12, 2021 The Iraqi, Jordanian and Egyptian Red Crescent societies and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have agreed on the "Amman Declaration," during a tripartite meeting that took place in Amman, Jordan on 11-12 August 2021. The declaration develops a model of cooperation that is consistent with local strategic orientation and with IFRC’s strategy 2030. The partners agreed to work on a joint plan of action that addresses common challenges such as climate change, food security, livelihoods, particularly in light of the global consequences of the Covid19 pandemic on people's lives. Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi, Regional Director of IFRC MENA, said: "As partners, we are determined to adopt the best ways and mechanisms that translate our strategic visions into concrete actions on the ground. Particularly, in the fields of disaster preparedness and response, climate change, volunteer management, livelihoods and food security. We agreed to share our experiences notably in regard to working with refugees and displaced people with technical support from IFRC.” Donor fatigue and the need to find new ways of funding was one of the topics discussed. Partners agreed to develop a joint plan of action to attract resources locally and regionally. They decided as well to form a capacity strengthening task force that will develop a training roadmap to strengthen the skills of the Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers. For more information: Rana Sidani Cassou: Mobile: +96171802779 [email protected]

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10/08/2021 | Press release

Mass COVID-19 vaccinations kick off in Bangladesh camps

Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, 10 August 2021:Vaccinations have begun for people in the camps for displaced people, amid a record COVID-19 surge in Bangladesh and a widening global vaccine divide. The vaccination campaign begins on 10 August with priority for people aged 55 and over covering 48,000 camp residents. About 500 Bangladesh Red Crescent staff and volunteers are working under the Population Movement Operation (PMO) and the Myanmar Refugee Relief Operation (MRRO), in collaboration with UNHCR and health authorities, in the urgent rollout all over the 34 camps. There are more than 900,000 people living in the densely populated camps. Many people face ongoing health issues, limited access to hygiene facilities and safe water. Existing health clinics were already stretched to the limit, even before the COVID-19 epidemic. The Delta variant has driven surging infections across the country, with around 20,000 infections and 200 deaths recorded in the Cox’s Bazar district so far. A national positivity rate of around 30 per cent indicates the spread of COVID-19 is much higher, especially with cramped conditions and the risks faced by many people living in the camps. M.A. Halim, Head of Operations, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society in Cox’s Bazar, said: “This pandemic is inflicting a terrible toll on every aspect of people’s lives and has been compounded by recent floods and fires that have swept through the camps. Vaccinating is more important than ever to prevent illness and more loss of life in Cox’s Bazar. “Thousands of trained Red Crescent volunteers are playing a key role supporting vaccinations in the camps and all over the country including at our health clinics and door to door to encourage people to get vaccinated.” Hrusikesh Harichandan, Head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ Cox’s Bazar sub-office, said: “People in these camps are living in the shadow of the global vaccine divide. Widespread vaccinations are critical to contain this deadly virus. We need united efforts by national agencies and international organisations to help vaccinate all adults in the camps. “Vaccinations are vital for families to live with dignity because staying home is so tough for people in these cramped camps and most still have limited access to water and sanitation facilities, escalating risks from COVID-19.” Less than 3 per cent of the population in Bangladesh has been fully vaccinated and Bangladesh Red Crescent is working alongside health authorities to help vaccinate millions of people across the country over the next week. As part of a coordinated humanitarian effort, Red Cross Red Crescent has already established 14 healthcare facilities, helping to meet health needs of people living in the Cox’s Bazar camps. As part of the ongoing Population Movement Operation which began in 2017 and the MRRO which began in 1992, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, with the assistance of IFRC, other Red Cross Red Crescent partners and UNHCR, is providing both camp residents and host communities living on the periphery of the camps with healthcare, improved access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation services, shelter, livelihoods and other essential needs, along with reducing risks in disasters and protection support for women and those most at risk. In total, from the start of operations in 2017, Bangladesh Red Crescent has supported over 1 million people. For more information, please contact: In Cox’s Bazar: Ibrahim Mollik, +880 16 74 330863, [email protected] Sabrina Idris, +8801 763777999, [email protected] In Asia Pacific Office: Antony Balmain, +60 12 230 8451, [email protected] In Wellington: Ellie van Baaren, +64 21 774 831, [email protected] In Geneva: Teresa Goncalves, +44 7891 857 056, [email protected]

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01/08/2021 | Press release

IFRC: Inclusive vaccination and protection measures urgently needed to stop the new pandemic waves in North Africa

Beirut, 02 August 2021 – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in the Middle East and North Africa, is concerned that the increasing COVID-19 transmissions in the region could spark a domino effect with catastrophic health, social and economic impacts, unless vaccination rollouts are stepped up and protection measures reinforced. Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia reported the greatest number of new cases in the past weeks, with Tunisia reporting the greatest increase in new reported deaths. Concerns for the future are mounting as variants continue to spread, health systems are on the verge of collapse and the vaccination rates in the Middle East and North Africa region continue to lag dangerously behind. Dr Haytham Qosa, Head of IFRC MENA Health Unit, said: “Leaving countries behind on vaccines will only serve to prolong the pandemic, not just in the region, but globally. Many countries are facing other vulnerabilities, including conflict, natural disasters, water shortages, displacement, and other disease outbreaks. This makes people even more vulnerable to the devastating impacts of COVID-19. This alone should be a reason enough for global solidarity to ensure equitable vaccine access in the region. At a global level, vaccine equity is key to reducing the likelihood of variants and saving lives by limiting the spread of the virus. This is the only way we can truly end this pandemic.” The Red Cross Red Crescent staff and volunteers have been on the frontline of the COVID-19 response since the outset. IFRC has been supporting the Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies in MENA with: Efforts to accelerate vaccination campaigns in support of the national vaccination plans. Provision of cash assistance, food parcels, hygiene kits, and masks to affected people. Provision of medical supplies including oxygen concentrators, ventilators & generators, and PPEs to local health authorities. Monitoring of the vaccination campaigns for quality, standards, fairness and equity. Technical support with risk communication and community engagement. Despite lofty rhetoric about global solidarity in terms of vaccine equity, there is a deadly gap in the global plan to equitably distribute COVID-19 vaccines. In MENA region, only 10 doses per 100 people have been administered in many countries, including Libya, Algeria, Egypt, and Iraq. In Syria and Yemen, there has been less than one dose per 100 people. Dr Hosam Faysal, Head of IFRC MENA Disasters, Climate and Crises Unit, coordinating the IFRC response to COVID-19, said: “The new waves of the pandemic remind us that the battle against it is unfortunately not yet over. However, it also highlights the critical role of the our Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers as trusted local actors who are able to quickly response to new surges of cases. Across the region they are working tirelessly to support health system, help protect communities and ensure vaccines make it into arms of the most vulnerable. But without more vaccines, there cannot be vaccinations.” Notes to Editors Algeria: In the past 4 weeks, we have seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections. In response to the latest peak, the Algerian Red Crescent (ARCS) has scaled up the COVID-19 activities quickly once the numbers climbed up to alarming level but the situation is far from over. More than 2 million people have already been vaccinated by ARCS doctors and nurses not only in cities but also in remote areas. Many vaccinations centers have been opened recently to reach the national target set by authorities to reach 20 million people by the end of 2021. More than 20,000 ARCS volunteers are fully active: Supporting authorities in the vaccination campaigns. Distributing 2 million masks since the start of the pandemic and 100.000 hygiene kits for families living in remote areas. Providing Oxygen concentrators to hospitals in the “hot Spot” areas. Tunisia: In the past weeks, Tunisia registered its highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic as the Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads and vaccine availability remains low. The health care system is struggling to cope especially the intensive care departments that are full and doctors overburdened by a rapid outbreak of cases and deaths. Tunisia has one of the highest per capita death rates in the world. Vaccinations have been slow. As of 29 July 2021 and according to WHO, of the 11.7 million population, 1.677446 million were vaccinated with at least one shot (14.1% ) whereas 934,004 ( 7.9% ) are fully vaccinated. The Tunisian Red Crescent as auxiliary body to the public authorities has been scaling up its response to the increased humanitarian needs and focusing on supporting the health system in country with risk communication campaigns,  homecare provision of Oxygen concentrators as well as the provision of PPEs such as masks and other materials to front-line health workers. 3,000 volunteers deployed from 24 branches all over the country continue raising awareness campaigns, helping population registering on the E-Vax platform especially the elderly, migrants and people in most distant rural areas, providing at the same time food and hygiene kits assistance. In almost all vaccination centers, TRC volunteers assist health workers in checking registration, appointments, and onsite immediate post vaccination monitoring. In the past two weeks, the IFRC, Qatar Red Crescent and Kuwait Red Crescent have shipped more than ten tons of medical equipment, including oxygen concentrators, ventilators, personal protective equipment and sanitizer to the Tunisian Red Crescent. TRC has reached 10 million people since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak by raising awareness campaigns in public places and institutions, conducting screening and triage, and managing queues in front of public facilities and vaccination centres. Morocco: There is a sharp increase in cases in the past 4 weeks. 40% increase in the number of COVID-19 infections in week 29 compared to the previous week. As of 14 July, only 27% of the population is fully vaccinated. The Moroccan Red Crescent has mobilized more than 2,000 volunteers to support the vaccination campaigns alongside MRCS doctors and nurses. In addition, 5,000 volunteers are active in 75 branches all over the country to sensitize the population about the importance of vaccine and reinforce the respect of risk communication messages. In support from IFRC, MRCS distributes food, medicines, hygiene items, masks to communities in urban settings an in remote areas reaching at least 190,000 households. The pandemic is affecting the mental health of the population. 150 volunteers trained on psychosocial first aid, manage the hotline to listen to community, provide emotional first aid, receive requests for medicines, food, etc. Libya:The COVID-19 pandemic is adding another layer of crisis on years of armed conflict in Libya that has led to a weakened health care system, a dire economic situation, a lack of basic services and serious humanitarian conditions suffered by migrants transiting to through the Mediterranean. Libya is currently witnessing an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, where on the 13th of July it recorded its highest daily rate of COVID 19 infections with 2,679 new cases, a 161% increase compared to the previous week. With the low rate of vaccination, these concerning figures promises a serious wave that can further shatter the country. To combat this wave, Libya has imposed new precautionary measures to curb infection rates that included the closure of the borders with neighbouring Tunisia on the 8th of July, the closure of coffee shops and restaurants, the banning of weddings and funerals and the halting of public transportation for two weeks. The Libyan Red Crescent Society (LRCS), in coordination with IFRC, has been supporting host communities and migrants with food, hygiene items, health services, child protection, Humanitarian Service Points for Migrants and the engagement in Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) activities around COVID-19 prevention and the importance of immunization against the disease The LRCS is playing a key role in managing vaccination sites all over Libya with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). The LRCS has directly reached 35,500 persons in its response to COVID-19 through support from the IFRC. For more information In Beirut: Rana Sidani Cassou, Head of Communications, IFRC MENA, +96171802779 [email protected]

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