Plan International UK response to Covid-19 (Coronavirus)
Rose Caldwell, Chief Executive at Plan International UK, said:
"At this time of global uncertainty, Plan International UK would like to share an update about the steps we are taking to protect the children and communities we work with across the world against the virus COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
"As a global children’s charity, with more than 80 years’ experience, our aim is to advance children’s rights and equality for girls. We work in over 75 countries, with some of the most vulnerable communities, and we know that girls and young women are particularly hard hit in health emergencies, and they will need our support more than ever as this crisis develops.
"As things stand, we are pleased to say that we have not received any reports of the children we work with being directly affected by the outbreak and our work in communities, where possible, will continue as usual. But we must not rest. We will continue to disseminate public health information and implement effective hygiene practices, including installation of additional hand-washing facilities in the communities we work with, to keep children healthy. We will work with teachers, parents, health care providers and partners to ensure children get the support they need during this crisis. And we will also intensify support and preventive measures in refugee and displaced camps where the healthcare support is most fragile.
"This is a virus that is spreading fast and the situation is changing day by day. Our experience of working in the Ebola crisis shows health emergencies affect girls and boys, women and men differently. Although children appear to be less impacted by COVID-19 than older adults, the pandemic will affect the environment in which children grow and develop. The challenges for children, particularly girls, will be great, ranging from disruption in education, increased risk of sexual violence and negative impact on their mental health. For all these reasons, we are monitoring the situation closely with our staff on the ground and will be ready to provide further assistance as it's needed.
"Here in the UK, we are constantly reviewing our working practices in line with Public Health England to ensure we can protect our UK staff as best we can. Following advice from the UK government all staff based in our London office are now working from home and we have suspended all non-critical overseas travel. We are striving to ensure that this doesn’t affect the time it takes us to respond to your emails, calls or letters, and will let you know if we anticipate any delays.
"We will continue to keep you updated on our work over the next few weeks and months, as we work to provide the most effective support we can for children whose lives will change as a result of this health crisis. Thank you once again for your support. We can’t do our work without you."