COVID-19 Operational Guidance Note: Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) within Health Programs
International Rescue Committee, 2020
This guidance summarizes the key actions for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS)
within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. We anticipate that pre-existing mental health
conditions will be exacerbated, and that new mental health problems will be induced by the COVID19 pandemic. This will occur in countries where IRC has ongoing MHPSS programming, and also in countries where IRC programs does not have dedicated mental health services and supports. We have outlined how to support continuity of existing MHPSS service and anticipate how to adapt programs based on the increased demand for MHPSS. All MHPSS plans should be coordinated with other sectors and other partners implementing MHPSS activities.
This guidance note is for MHPSS linked to the health system. There will be separate – but
complementary – guidance notes for MHPSS interventions that are implemented through VPRU,
Education and ERD programs.
In light of the unprecedented impact that the COVID-19 outbreak is having across operations worldwide, UNHCR is revising its initial requirements of $33 million and is appealing for an additional $222 million, bringing revised requirements to $255 million to urgently support preparedness and response in situations of forced displacement over the next nine months.
COVID-19 is first and foremost a public health crisis, and within that crisis refugee and other forcibly displaced populations are at greater risk as the pandemic evolves.
UNHCR is focusing on protecting all forcibly displaced populations, prioritizing situations and
contexts—formal and informal—with large populations of refugees, IDPs, stateless persons and
other people of concern to ensure that health and WASH systems and services are shored up,
reinforced and quickly adapted.
Amnesty International, 2020
Faced with an unprecedented pandemic, governments across the Americas have begun to respond to COVID-19 in a variety of ways, ranging from calling for states of emergencies, to imposing travel bans, to implementing quarantines. Stakes are high and the way governments respond to this pandemic could determine the future of millions of people.
Governments are ultimately responsible for protecting people and their human rights but have often failed to do so in the Americas. Deep inequality, structural discrimination, a tendency to revert to repressive policing, censorship, underfunded public health systems, and inadequate social security and labour protections long predate the outbreak of COVID-19 in the region.
Human Rights Watch, 2020
International human rights law guarantees everyone the right to the highest attainable standard of health and obligates governments to take steps to prevent threats to public health and to provide medical care to those who need it. Human rights law also recognizes that in the context of serious public health threats and public emergencies threatening the life of the nation, restrictions on some rights can be justified when they have a legal basis, are strictly necessary, based on scientific evidence and neither arbitrary nor discriminatory in application, of limited duration, respectful of human dignity, subject to review, and proportionate to achieve the objective.
The scale and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic clearly rises to the level of a public health threat that could justify restrictions on certain rights, such as those that result from the imposition of quarantine or isolation limiting freedom of movement. At the same time, careful attention to human rights such as non-discrimination and human rights principles such as transparency and respect for human dignity can foster an effective response amidst the turmoil and disruption that inevitably results in times of crisis and limit the harms that can come from the imposition of overly broad measures that do not meet the above criteria.
This document provides an overview of human rights concerns posed by the coronavirus outbreak, drawing on examples of government responses to date, and recommends ways governments and other actors can respect human rights in their response.
Turid Heiberg, Save the Children International, 2005
Global Submission by the International Save the Children Alliance UN Study on Violence against Children
The present study evaluates Save the Children’s experiences with work against child sexual abuse and exploitation around the world. We focus on the essence of our programme experiences, our insights and the ‘main jewels’ of our learning in the form of 10 essential learning points. We have investigated if and how our work has been in the best interest of children and whether it contributed to their development. How do we perceive the challenges and strategies that have been successful? The examination led to the formulation of the learning points, which may serve as a guide for establishing good practice and policies.
Thirteen country programmes within Save the Children – Canada, Colombia, Brazil, Nicaragua, South Africa, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Syria, Nepal, Bangladesh, Romania and Spain – have been involved in the present examination, drawing on their own and partners’ experiences as well as the experiences of governments and civil society in general in combating child sexual abuse within a number of cultural, socio-economic, political and religious contexts. Good practice from other Save the Children members, academic and other sources has also been included. We have emphasised that the learning reflects what boys and girls of different ages themselves feel, think, reflect and experience around sexual abuse.Turid
Justice child sexual abuse education gender based violence mental health post-traumatic stress disorder protection sexual violence Bangladesh Brazil Canada Colombia Global Mozambique Nepal Nicaragua Romania Rwanda South Africa Spain Syria Uganda
UNICEF, WHO, IFRC, 2020
The purpose of this document is to provide clear and actionable guidance for safe operations through the prevention, early detection and control of COVID-19 in schools and other educational facilities. The guidance, while specific to countries that have already confirmed the transmission of COVID-19, is still relevant in all other contexts. Education can encourage students to become advocates for disease prevention and control at home, in school, and in their community by talking to others about how to prevent the spread of viruses. Maintaining safe school operations or reopening schools after a closure requires many considerations but, if done well, can promote public health.
The document includes facts on COVID-19, information to school administrators, teachers and staff, parents/caregivers and community members as well as on age-specific health education with the aim to promote safe and healthy schools.
United Nations Coordinated Appeal, 2020
COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on all countries, both in terms of prompting the scaling of public health preparedness and response and protection of vulnerable populations, and in terms of requiring mitigation of broader social and economic impacts. While all countries need to respond to COVID-19, those with existing humanitarian crises are particularly vulnerable, and less equipped and able to do so. Humanitarian needs may also occur in other countries as a result of excessive pressure on health systems and the overall delivery of essential services, as well as secondary effects on employment, the economy and mobility, the rule of law, protection of human rights, and possible social discontent and unrest.
“The world is only as strong as the weakest health system. This COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan aims to enable us to fight the virus in the world’s poorest countries, and address the needs of the most vulnerable people.” – António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Clare Wenham, Julia Smith, Rosemary Morgan, on behalf of the Gender and COVID-19 Working Group, the Lancet, 2020
If the response to disease outbreaks such as COVID-19 is to be effective and not reproduce or perpetuate gender and health inequities, it is important that gender norms, roles, and relations that influence women’s and men’s differential vulnerability to infection, exposure to pathogens, and treatment received, as well as how these may differ among different groups of women and men, are considered and addressed. We call on governments and global health institutions to consider the sex and gender effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, both direct and indirect, and conduct an analysis of the gendered impacts of the multiple outbreaks, incorporating the voices of women on the front line of the response to COVID-19 and of those most affected by the disease within preparedness and response policies or practices going forward.
Until recently, the transmission of COVID-19 to developing countries or those experiencing ongoing
humanitarian emergencies had been limited,3 but such transmission is now occurring. Development and
humanitarian settings pose particular challenges for infectious disease prevention and control.4 Access
constraints and poor health and sanitation infrastructure are obstacles to disease prevention and treatment under the best of circumstances; when coupled with gender inequality and, in some cases, insecurity, public health responses become immeasurably more complex.
CARE’s analysis shows that COVID-19 outbreaks in development or humanitarian contexts could disproportionately affect women and girls in a number of ways, including adverse effects on their education, food security and nutrition, health, livelihoods, and protection. Even after the outbreak has been contained, women and girls may continue to suffer from ill-effects for years to come.
The publication includes a list of recommendations tailored to different actors.
Gender Based Violence AoR, Gender in Humanitarian Action, 2020
In this briefing note you can find information about emerging gender impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as well as recommendations as to how to respond in a gender sensitive way. The first six recommendations are (please open the link to see the full list of recommendations):
- Disaggregate data related to the outbreak by sex, age, and disability
- Country strategic plans for preparedness and response must be grounded in strong gender analysis, taking into account gendered roles, responsibilities, and dynamics
- Strengthen the leadership and meaningful participation of women and girls in all decision-making
processes in addressing the COVID-19 outbreak
- Ensure that women are able to get information about how to prevent and respond to the epidemic in ways they can understand
- Ensure human rights are central to the response
- First responders must be trained on how to handle disclosures of GBV