The United Nations in Nigeria on Tuesday declared it is taking emergency preparedness and response measures to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus to the most vulnerable crisis-affected people in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
These measures also address immediate humanitarian consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic should it spread to north-east Nigeria.
“We will not wait for COVID-19 to reach camps for internally displaced persons before we act.
They have already suffered enough from the decade-long conflict and our priority is to ensure the continuous delivery of life-saving assistance, especially health services, to the most vulnerable women, children and the elderly who need special attention,” said Mr. Edward Kallon, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria.
“More than ever, it is crucial for vulnerable people to have access to not only water, soap, shelters, but also food, education, and protection.”
Mr. Kallon noted that the UN in Nigeria is supporting the governments of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states in developing emergency response plans that take the reality of the living conditions in many communities and IDP camps into account and include specific mitigation measures particularly in overcrowded camps and camp-like settings where the risk of disease outbreaks is higher.
The Humanitarian Coordinator highlighted that the United Nations and its humanitarian partners, are actively involved in Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) in IDP sites across the BAY states in support of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Key activities are being implemented jointly in the IDP camps, guided by global guidance on COVID-19 Outbreak Preparedness and Response.
“Humanitarian partners are installing hand-washing stations in IDP camps and ensuring the supply of clean water.
Partners are also distributing soap and teaching women how to produce their own,” Mr. Kallon explained.
The United Nations is also planning to bring in vital health equipment and tools to prevent and treat the respiratory virus, which is now affecting over 12 states across Nigeria, with 131 total cases recorded as of 31 March.
The UN has developed awareness-raising and prevention messages, leaflets, posters, animations and videos specific for IDPs and other vulnerable people in the north-east.
In partnership with major TV and radio channels, it has launched sensitization campaigns across various Nigerian states, reaching millions of Nigerians.
The UN is also launching a survey tool with the Network of People Living with HIV (NEPWHAN) to gather specific and arising challenges for people living with HIV on continuous access to quality treatment, care, and support in the midst of the response to the outbreak of COVID-19.
As part of its commitment, Johnson & Johnson is also expanding the Company’s global manufacturing capacity, including through the establishment of the new U.S.
vaccine manufacturing capabilities and scaling up capacity in other countries. The additional capacity will assist in the rapid production of a vaccine and will enable the supply of more than one billion doses of a safe and effective vaccine globally.
The Company plans to begin production at risk imminently and is committed to bringing an affordable vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use.
Alex Gorsky, Chairman/CEO, Johnson & Johnson, said: “The world is facing an urgent public health crisis and we are committed to doing our part to make a COVID-19 vaccine available and affordable globally as quickly as possible.
As the world’s largest healthcare company, we feel a deep responsibility to improve the health of people around the world every day, research and development processes to unprecedented levels and our teams are working tirelessly alongside BARDA, scientific partners, and global health authorities.
We are very pleased to have identified a lead vaccine candidate from the constructs we have been working on since January.
We are moving on an accelerated timeline toward Phase 1 human clinical trials at the latest by September 2020 and, supported by the global production capability that we are scaling up in parallel to this testing, we expect a vaccine could be ready for emergency use in early 2021.