Social protection responses to COVID-19: Actions that can make a difference for older people

Slide presentation of the webinar held on 16 April 2020. As the coronavirus pandemic reaches new corners of the globe, its impacts are beginning to cascade on already stretched aid operations in crisis zones.

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The state is ultimately responsible for decisions made on social protection policy options and making sure that the progressive realisation of the right to social protection for all is achieved. But, how can this be done in practical terms?

Senior Social Protection Specialist Alexandra Barrantes delves into the importance of a human rights-based approach to Social Protection, framing social protection debates and policy decisions around entitlements rather than charity or handouts.

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How can social protection systems respond to the COVID-19 crisis?

Slide presentation of the webinar held on 14 April 2020. The lion share of social assistance payments around the world is implemented in the form of monetary transfers.

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This briefing note seeks to guarantee the integration of gender equality and women’s empowerment in the three inter-linked support areas and provide recommendations to Country Offices and governments in the Latin America and the Caribbean region for the implementation of gender-responsive policy measures to the COVID-193 emergency, ensuring that as a final goal no one is left behind. However, it will develop in detail recommendations for Offer 3 regarding the social and economic impacts of the crisis.

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The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has created a public health emergency with immediate and long-term economic consequences for children and their families. Strengthening social protection responses is essential to mitigate these staggering impacts.  UNICEF works with governments and other partners in over 100 countries to help strengthen social protection systems, including their ability to respond to both short-term and protracted crises. This note outlines key areas where UNICEF is ready to rapidly scale up our ongoing work.

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Kenya reported its first case of COVID-19 on 12 March 2020 and, as at 7 April 2020, 172 cases had been confirmed and 6 deaths reported. The Government of Kenya has taken a number of measures to curb the spread of the virus, including implementing a curfew, restricting movement out and into four counties, including Nairobi Metropolitan, and closing most of the urban and rural markets to enforce social distancing.

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The government Monday approved the use of over Sh40 billion to cushion needy households in urban areas from economic shocks following reduced activity in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The cash will be from funds raised from austerity measures effected at both national and county government levels, including cutting of international and domestic travel, and some Sh2 billion recovered proceeds of corruption. 

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A procession of disappointments awaits residents of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city, when illness strikes. Those who report symptoms of covid-19 to the health-care hotline get appointments scheduled for several weeks later, by which time they will probably have recovered or died. With ambulance services overwhelmed, stricken people arrive at hospitals in pickup trucks, only to find there are no empty beds. When somebody dies at home, the corpse joins a long waiting list for removal. The city has run out of wooden coffins.

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