While the virus came late to the region, all countries in the region now have confirmed cases. COVID-19 is spreading, and community transmission is increasing in some countries. A rapid acceleration of cases could quickly overwhelm vulnerable health systems.
Swift action is urgently needed to control further spread of the virus and to improve the response capabilities of countries.
UNFPA is working with the UN system, governments and partners, and is an active member of various regional coordination mechanisms: the COVID-19 Regional Response Platform, the UN Sustainable Development Group, the Inter-agency Steering Committee, and the Harmonization of Health in Africa.
Discussions are underway to propose a holistic plan for integrated UN support to all countries in the region.
The magnitude of the looming public health crisis and the alarming speed at which COVID-19 is spreading demands a united approach at all levels.
With the region’s recent outbreak of Ebola, there is formidable knowledge, lessons learned and good practices that can collectively contribute to the structures in place to address the pandemic.
The regional coordination platform will provide technical assistance while ensuring advocacy, political and resource mobilization and partnership to strengthen ongoing efforts as a One-UN response to the crisis and any emerging issues.
UNFPA is engaging with regional institutions, such as the Economic Community Of West African States, to build a problem-solving partnership in response to the crisis. The goal is to shift from a public health-centric focus to delivery of impact.
UNFPA is striving to maintain life-saving sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence prevention and response services during the outbreak.