The Covid-19 pandemic and its effects continue to take a heavy toll on countries that were already struggling to cope with poverty, conflict, climate change and other diseases. Extreme poverty has risen for millions as a direct result of the economic impact of the crisis.
Populations face acute food insecurity and imminent famine. Children, especially girls, are missing out on their education. Women’s rights (access to reproductive healthcare and economic autonomy) are threatened. Individual lives and livelihoods are at risk. Borders shut, national emergencies were declared. The restrictions in the movement of people and goods interrupted the transport of much needed aid, medical equipment and basic goods which in turn impacted the long-term regional and national economic development of entire countries.
Since its outbreak, the virus is reported to have claimed 6.5 Million lives globally with over 623 Million cases registered (2022 figures). The true scale of cases and deaths in lower-income countries is largely unknown due to under-reporting and under-testing practices in those countries (a consequence of the collapse of an already fragile healthcare structure, and poor access to equipment and Covid tests). Taking into account the rapid spread of the virus (and its variants), the challenging living conditions and lack of healthcare, it is estimated that the death toll is 4 times higher in lower-income countries than rich ones.
Covid-19 has further exposed global inequalities. In 2021, just over 3% of people in low-income countries had received their first vaccine dose, compared to 60.18% in high-income countries. Today, it is reported that out of the 10 billion doses given out worldwide, only 1% have been administered in low-income countries (2022 figures). This means that 2.8 billion people around the world are still waiting to get their first shot.
These countries require urgent humanitarian aid and intervention to prevent the spread of the covid-19 as well as other diseases on the rise (Measles, Polio and Cholera). They also need the urgent provision of resources to avoid total economic collapse. Both financial and technical support is necessary. At Mother Helpage, we work to deliver essential equipment to test for the virus and medical supplies to treat people. We install hand washing stations in villages, camps and settlements. We have launched public information campaigns on how to protect from the virus. We also provide financial assistance, food parcels and basic supplies to sustain the most impoverished families and individuals.