As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to escalate, Helen Keller Intl is taking immediate action to respond urgently, effectively, and compassionately. Our highest priority is to keep the people we work for – and with – safe.
We are already seeing the impact of the crisis on the communities we serve.
The COVID-19 pandemic is hitting people living in poverty the hardest. We are deeply concerned about the impact of the virus on people in communities with already weak and understaffed health systems. Health workers and care providers are most at risk of exposure to and illness from COVID-19.
What We’re Doing
We have taken the following actions to respond to the COVID-19 crisis:
- Helen Keller is restricting all non-essential travel. We have postponed all global and regional meetings.
- We are sharing essential information with our global staff on steps everyone can take to prevent infection.
- In the US, where Helen Keller Intl works in schools, in shelter environments, and in refugee centers, we are following municipal, state, and federal guidelines. In schools that remain open, for example, our teams are there, providing services, washing hands, and staying as safe as they can.
- We have emergency preparedness plans in each country where we work, as well as in our global offices in Dakar, Phnom Penh, Paris, Washington, D.C., and New York. These plans work to expedite decisions and ensure that vital resources flow to field offices.
- Helen Keller Intl continues our life-saving services, wherever possible – preventing malnutrition among vulnerable children and their families, combating neglected tropical diseases, and preventing avoidable blindness and vision loss.
- Finally, we are lending our support to public health authorities and local, front line responders in the countries in which we work. In Nepal, for example, we are deploying additional emergency funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to safeguard communities from COVID-19 through hygiene promotion and other interventions.
We are evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on our programs day-by-day, in close consultation with government and local partners. As the situation evolves, we will assess ways we can make use of our vast field presence to prevent infection, contain the pandemic, and support local partners.
Together, we can protect our families and our communities – and take measures to help keep the most vulnerable families safe in the face of this massive threat.
In the coming days, we will continue to update you on our response. We plan to share opportunities for you to join our efforts.
Our hearts go out to everyone who is suffering from this illness. Thank you so very much for being part of Helen Keller Intl’s community.