On 30 January 2020, the Director-General of WHO declared the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) under the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005), following advice from the IHR Emergency Committee. On 4 February 2020, the Director-General of WHO briefed the Secretary-General of the United Nations and requested the activation of the United Nations crisis management policy to establish a Crisis Management Team (CMT) to coordinate the UN system-wide scale up to assist countries prepare for and respond to COVID-19.
Like other states and countries, Jammu and Kashmir have also been severely affected by COVID-19, as of today, hundreds of active cases have been reported positive. A sizable number have been quarantined, some placed under observation for having got in contact with the existing positive cases. The government has moved all its machinery to counter the epidemic, but the lack of resources; non-availability of health infrastructure is making it more difficult. The trend of positive cases is on upsurge; it is going to be an overwhelming situation for the health sector to manage if the numbers rise as happened in many places across the globe. The people having suffered badly due to the ongoing civil-unrest from last three decades the economies are showing a sharp decline because of the global recession and also as the markets did not function well since August 5th after the abrogation of Article 370 followed with the conversion of state into the Union territory. The massive economics challenges and public health structures in J&K is enough reason for great concern as we lacks basic health and medical infrastructure/resources to counter COVID19.
As reported by Economic Times (1st April 2020) That “Kashmir is among the highest COVID 19 case density areas in the country which is around 6.14 cases per million of the population. With poor health infrastructure and climatic conditions Valley also becomes one of the most high-risk zones for the corona virus outbreak.
KFORD is supporting ongoing government & Interagency efforts in catalyzing a Rapid Response to COVID focused on underprivileged sections. Currently, KFORD teams are deployed in Kashmir Province of Jammu and Kashmir assisting the state Gov’t in its COVID 19 response. KFORD has earmarked from its reserves to kickstart the Emergency COVID Response in J&K. The three program packages integral to KFORD response plan are as:
Support Government, Private Health Providers & Frontline Health Workers. Direct benefits and livelihood support to the most economically vulnerable households. Support to Community in adopting appropriate preventive practices, hygiene behaviors and creating linkages to testing and treatment services for COVID 19 .
KFORD 5 Point Action Plan to COVID-19 Emergency Response:-
· Action #1: The activities to ensure clear guidance on risk, prevention and awareness of symptoms are available in the communities where we work. (Awareness includes promoting hand washing and providing soap and hand washing stations, conducting demonstrations and tackling barriers to good hygiene).
· Action #2: Provide PPE (Personal Protective Environment) Gear to frontline Medical professionals and care takers.
· Action #3: Provide N95 Masks to medical professionals and triple layer Masks to medical support staff/ volunteers etc.(who are not in touch with COVID19 positive cases).
· Action #4: Provide family support Feeding Kits (consisting of nutritious food items, including pulses, flour, spices, oil, tea, baby food etc. as per the humanitarian aid standards) to the vulnerable families.
· Action #5: Provide Hygiene Kits (consisting of sanitary napkins, Panties, bathing soaps and detergents etc) & Medicine support to needy.