COVID Response – Equity

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COVID Response – Equity

New Red Cross and Red Crescent plan to counter “deep and pervasive” inequities in pandemic response
Geneva, 24 March 2021 (ICRC/IFRC) – The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has today launched a new plan that aims to tackle “deep and pervasive” inequities in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While no one has been spared from the effects of COVID-19, the consequences of this pandemic have not been equally felt. This crisis has been defined by profound and persistent inequities both in terms of who is most at risk, and how the world has responded.

The new Red Cross and Red Crescent analysis released today shows that, although present in all countries, these inequities have been particularly pronounced and damaging for people living in countries affected by humanitarian crises.


According to this analysis:
:: Countries that are not dealing with humanitarian crises have reported carrying out nearly 48 times more COVID-19 tests per capita than countries facing “severe” or “very severe” humanitarian crises.


:: People living in countries facing either no humanitarian crisis or crises that are considered “low” in severity are more than three times as likely to be supported with contact tracing for COVID-19.

:: Less than 2 per cent of COVID-19 vaccine doses globally have reportedly been administered in the 32 countries currently facing “severe” or “very severe” humanitarian crises.

Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said: “Since the start of the outbreak, we have seen the virus discriminate through its impacts on the elderly, on people with pre-existing conditions, and on people who do not have the economic resources to isolate and protect themselves. What our data shows is that the response to COVID-19 also discriminates. These deep and pervasive inequities mean that, no matter where they are, people in vulnerable settings are more likely than the general population to be infected, are more likely to die once infected, and are least likely to be appropriately supported through the response, including through vaccination campaigns. The same is also true for vulnerable groups in non-crisis settings.”

Robert Mardini, Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said:
“Communities affected by armed conflict have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19, including those who have been displaced, people separated from their families, those deprived of their livelihoods and people in detention. That is why the ICRC is supporting National Societies, vital health infrastructure, access to health care, efforts to prevent the spread of disease in places of detention, access to clean water, and the safe and dignified management of human remains in places experiencing conflict and violence.”


The revised International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement plan is designed to counter some of the more severe inequities by expanding care, treatment and support for people in all countries, including those affected by humanitarian crises such as conflict and disasters. The plan also includes a range of measures designed to support and extend COVID-19 immunization campaigns so that marginalized and isolated groups — including people living in conflict zones, migrants and displaced people, people living in urban slums, and isolated communities in non-crisis affected countries — can access vaccines.

In all, the revised International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement appeal seeks 2.729 billion Swiss francs…

To read the revised Movement plan, click here.