HARP-F partners stepping up the COVID-19 response

©HARP-F partner

©HARP-F partner

Given the rapid progression of COVID-19 in Myanmar since mid-July, we called on our partners to re-focus their COVID-19 support in response to this third wave of the pandemic.

COVID-19 activities have been part of HARP-F programming since March 2020, and are integral to our ongoing coup response. However, we and our partners became acutely aware that infection rates were rising across the country, that medical facilities were stretched to their limits and that availability of oxygen was a critical challenge. We, therefore, wanted to make sure that our partners could adapt their ongoing programmes to respond to the third wave if they needed to.

In Rakhine, our partners continue to support through distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (such as surgical masks and soaps) and food distribution kits and supplementary nutrition kits for pregnant and lactating women to villages, volunteers and staff and providing access to oxygen for communities. Our partners are distributing equipment to make home care possible, given increasing challenges accessing health care. Three hand-washing points were completed in  and eleven hand-washing points are currently under construction.  Partners are also continuing with COVID-19 prevention activities, awareness-raising campaigns and support with referrals, as they have done throughout the pandemic.

Construction of Temporary Learning Spaces has started, and teachers have been recruited to support home-based learning. Training of protection and case management is ongoing in advance of planned expansion of protection activities based on anticipated need. Emergency response planning is ongoing including conducting a simulation on disaster risk reduction, pre-positioning, trainings.

Partners have also established community hotlines to support health services as well as supporting through the distribution of audio messaging. In addition to this, HARP-F continues to provide substantial support for Water, Hygiene and Sanitation for displaced populations in Rakhine and will be ensuring continuity of these services and support for quarantine facilities in camps where feasible.

In Chin state, our partners are supplying hygiene kits for affected populations and PPE for medical facilities in villages and IDP camps. There are some difficulties, for instance heavy rain and conflict, however, our partners are identifying routes to transport the commodities to accessible villages.

In Kachin and Northern Shan states, likewise, our partners continue to support COVID-19 prevention activities, provision of PPE, and medical referrals (including medical costs where there are suspected COVID-19 cases in camps). With our focus on support for IDPs and host communities, we are supporting partners to build or upgrade quarantine facilities and provide WASH services, COVID-19 response kits, and food and cash assistance for camp and village populations that go into lockdown. Our partners is ongoing distribution including dissemination of IEC materials, life skills training, educational support for children, cash assistance, hygiene kit distribution, case support, basket fund support, child protection, anti-GBV support and distribution of COVID-19 prevention and treatment materials.

In Karenni state, our partners collaborated with local organisations to provide support in terms of food assistance, hygiene supplies, NFIs and other assistance to IDP camps and local community. Our partners continue to deliver food and other assistance, despite covid-19 restrictions limiting access to food and essential supplies in those areas.

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