The European Union has mobilized €5M for UNICEF to ensure availability of basic health care services for women and children in Sindh and Balochistan in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This support will be provided through the EU’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) department and reach over 1.25 million individuals in three districts in Sindh (Karachi East, Larkand) and Balochistan (Jafarabad).

The EU is working to strengthen Pakistan’s primary healthcare system and improve resilience to emergencies and disasters. The EU’s support will allow continuation of life-saving basic services and infection prevention and control measures – including increased access to water and sanitation – to mitigate the adverse impact of COVID-19.

In addition, frontline health workers will receive PPE’s to continue carrying out their duties. There will also be greater efforts for community mobilization & awareness, and to increase access to safe severe acute malnutrition treatment for young children in Sindh and Balochistan during the pandemic.

Healthcare providers and frontline workers will also be trained to set up telemedicine services to increase coverage and access, and frontline workers will also receive the critical psychosocial support they require during this challenging time.

Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan, Androulla Kaminara said, “Mothers and newborns are at particular risk during the pandemic. Their well-being is of paramount importance.

Our support will help ensure that they continue to receive basic health services – including immunizations and nutrition treatments – in a safe environment. The EU will continue to work closely with its partners to support Pakistan’s healthcare system during this difficult time.”

This contribution to UNICEF is part of the European Union’s dedicated €150 million package for the short- and medium-term response to the COVID-19 crisis in Pakistan. This support is being extended through our development work, humanitarian aid and working with civil society organizations.

UNICEF Representative in Pakistan, Ms. Aida Girma said, “In response to COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF is working closely with the Government of Pakistan, leading the Risk Communication and Community Engagement besides assisting the country in continuation of essential services including immunization, education, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, and procurement of Personal Protective Equipment for frontline health workers. 

We are grateful to EU and ECHO for their generous contribution to this humanitarian cause. It will not only provide an impetus to our efforts but will also help Pakistan to counter the socio-economic impact of the pandemic, with a specific focus on the most vulnerable women and children.”