One of the first things many of us heard after the COVID outbreak began was “Washing hands is the best thing you can do to stay safe!” While it’s safe to say that proper hand hygiene was not habitual for all of us, some of us have additional structural challenges when it comes to sanitation and hygiene which were further exacerbated by this pandemic.
Do we really know the true scope and spread of COVID-19? Even the highest resourced settings are struggling to track the virus as it spreads and understand the implications on different communities. In the complex settings where the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement works, this challenge is further compounded by ongoing migration, rural communities disconnected from national reporting, and vulnerable groups who do not have access to testing and care.
Isolation is crucial to contain the virus, and we have seen that countries where citizens have practiced this has made an impact on transmission of COVID-19. We are also aware that isolation can also expose people to other risks. Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is one such risk.
From volunteers working in their communities to clinicians caring for patients, one of the first global needs that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic was a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).
This need is not new, and as the RCRC we have seen our staff diligently working at all different levels to address supply shortages in our programming.
We would like to highlight four different challenges linked to the global PPE shortage, and different opportunities and innovations popping up to address these needs.