ChildFund India’s Fight Against COVID-19
ChildFund India’s Fight Against COVID-19 has been a global health emergency with its economic and social impacts have impeded almost all aspects of life for everyone in India. The pandemic has amplified the existing inequalities in society. Consequently, millions of marginalized and underserved people and communities now face increased poverty, internal migration challenges and loss of livelihood which may alter their children’s future forever, unless there is help.
In April 2020, ChildFund India launched the COVID-19 response to address the multitude of challenges society has come to face. Our efforts focused on meeting the immediate needs of affected communities and creating long-term solutions to help communities heal, rebuild and reduce future risks by providing healthcare, educational and livelihood support and adopting an intersectional outlook to tackle these problems.
ChildFund India has so far reached over 10 million people across rural and urban areas in 14 states, providing relief and support to the most affected population due to COVID-19. And, we still aim to reach the last mile person in need of our support and continue with our mission of securing children and communities for a brighter future.
- Providing immediate and long-term relief to children, families and marginalized communities to support them to overcome COVID-19-induced challenges
- Building resilience of communities by promoting COVID-19-appropriate behavior
- Designing and building a resilient health system that will withstand and survive the health crisis
- Collaborating with the government to bring systematic changes in the healthcare, education and livelihood opportunities for sustainable solutions
Hygiene and Health
Providing Hygiene Kits and Promoting Covid-Appropriate Behavior
To contain the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve, it has been crucial to maintain high hygiene standards and adopt COVID-appropriate behavior (CAB). In this regard, we had provided hygiene kits, which comprised of masks, sanitizers, soap, disinfectants, etc. – sufficient for a family of five members, across India. And, we worked towards ensuring that the general public and frontline workers understand the importance of transmission-reducing behaviors. ChildFund India has used creative ways including mobile audio vans, folk arts, street plays, IEC material in local languages and even songs to dispel myths and misinformation to encourage adoption of CAB and WASH hygiene.
Strengthening Healthcare Systems and Supporting Frontline Health Workers
We worked to strengthen PHCs, CHCs and district hospitals with necessary equipment and training in far-away areas to ensure that there is equal access to critical medical assistance. ChildFund India has equipped government healthcare centers with essential medical equipment and supplies such as oxygen concentrators and masks, BiPAP machines, glucometers, etc. to help them serve as COVID care centers (CCC) so that needy patients get timely treatment. Also, to support the frontline healthcare workers including Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs) we provided them with protective gears and frontline workers’ kits. Furthermore, we had trained them in supporting lifesaving and life-sustaining services for children and families with which they can prevent, detect and manage infected cases and refer only critical cases to the hospitals, thereby reducing the burden on the already exhausted healthcare system.
Child-friendly COVID Care Centers
We have set up child-friendly CCC, with medical devices and equipment to ensure that children, if affected by severe COVID-19, would not suffer similar trauma as adults in getting treatment. These CCCs provide quality healthcare along with a cheerful atmosphere for children with brightly painted walls, toys, and activity centers, where trained hospital staff helps parents and children cope with uncertainties and anxiety. These CCCs also work towards treating other diseases such as malnutrition, dengue, malaria, etc.
COVID-19 aggravated existing mental health conditions such as depression, as well as gave rise to new mental health issues such as fear and anxiety. In this regard, we provided extensive training and literature to the government and community health workers, our frontline workers and community volunteers to ensure that they identify primary-level mental health problems in COVID-19 survivors and provide basic mental health services to COVID survivors and others.
Providing Much-needed Vaccination
Through our latest intervention, we have pioneered ‘Vaccination on Wheels’, a mobile van that provides vaccinations, routine immunizations and other primary-level diagnostic facilities. This has helped in last-mile vaccination in the remotest places. In addition, ChildFund India arranged vaccination drives with PHCs, private hospitals and governments to help people living in the most vulnerable areas receive the vaccination. We have also helped people in registering for vaccinations by setting up registration and information kiosks.
Supporting Continuous Learning
Home-based Learning with Inter-Generational Coping and Learning Kits
‘Inter-Generational Coping and Learning’ is a home-based learning system that helps children and their families to create a healthy learning environment. It consists of both educational and creative activities, which provide educational continuity for children. The kits have helped children to connect with their parents and express their emotions and maintain some sort of normalcy.
Providing Access to Education through Cycle Library and Neighborhood Classes
A lot of children living in villages suffered as education moved online since they had no access to laptops, phones or internet. In this scenario, our intervention ‘Cycle Library’ played an important role in keeping these children’s educational future alive. ‘Cycle Library’ brought books to far-flung areas where digital access was shoddy and unreliable. These libraries brought storybooks in regional languages, keeping children and parents engaged in creative reading exercises. Also, we started neighborhood classes for children, wherein our specially designed neighborhood class kit enabled our facilitators and government teachers to design classes for multi-level learning. These classes are organized 2–3 times a week for 10–15 children who gather in an open space nearby their homes, where they spend at least 2 hours learning and interacting with their friends and teachers.
Food Security and livelihood Support
Ensuring Food Security of the Needy
COVID-19 is a global health emergency, its economic and social impacts have impeded almost all aspects of life for everyone in India. The pandemic has amplified the existing inequalities in society. Consequently, millions of marginalized and underserved people and communities now face increased poverty, internal migration challenges and loss of livelihood which may alter their children’s future forever, unless there is help.
While the Indian economy gradually strengthens post the COVID-19 pandemic, many vulnerable families, mostly marginal farmers, unskilled labor and women are still struggling to find economic stability. We continue to focus our efforts on rebuilding the lives of the families severely impacted by the pandemic. We are providing them with livelihood recovery support in the form of agricultural aid including seeds, organic manure, tools for farming, and others such as poultry with training in the poultry farming business so that the families can get back to normalcy.
Focusing on Child Protection
In line with our child protection strategy, we are working towards ensuring that children are safeguarded from violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, we have sensitized/oriented field teams and local partners to mitigate child protection risks at quarantine facilities/in communities. Our mobilizers have made hundreds of phone calls to families to ensure that children feel safe and spoke to the parents to make sure they know how to deal with the new stressors they are experiencing with the pandemic.
ChildFund’s COVID-19 response contributes to SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 3 (Good health and well-being), SDG 4 (Quality education), SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth), SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities) and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the SDGs).