REACT-C19 project continues to support Azerbaijan in scaling-up COVID-19 readiness and response

BAKU, 22 may 2020 – REACT-C19 project, which aims to support Azerbaijan in rapidly scaling up essential capacities for COVID-19 readiness and response finished its second sprint with impressive outcomes covering 8 hospitals in a month and a half. The project started in the middle of April with the arrival to Baku of 19 Azerbaijani doctors currently working in Turkey.

“During a month and a half, the REACT-C19 team of doctors assessed the current situation in selected hospitals and supported the elimination of identified gaps. We are grateful to the hospital management and staff for the commitment to the process and to our doctors for their motivation and contribution” said Dr Hande Harmanci, the WHO Representative to Azerbaijan.

“The appeal from the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, His Excellency Mr. Ilham Aliyev to our people “We are strong together”, which triggered the mobilization of all resources in the country to defeat the pandemic must be the message to the world community and to all the countries to demonstrate solidarity in our united battle with coronavirus pandemic. REACT – C19 project is the best reflection of the international partnership for solidarity and mobilization of all efforts to overcome this challenge,” stated Soltan Mammadov, the representative of Heydar Aliyev Foundation. 

“The second phase of the REACT-C19 project has been successfully completed, and we are now in the next phase. I am confident that the support of our compatriots from Turkey to their counterparts in our country during the pandemic will bring very positive results, and we will complete the fight against coronavirus with minimal losses,” underlined Shahriyar Fatullayev, Advisor to the Chairman of the Executive Board of TABIB.

REACT-C19 teams in the field

After finishing their work in 4 hospitals (Central Hospital of Oilmen, New Clinics, Educational-Therapeutic Clinic of Azerbaijan Medical University and Surgical clinic of Azerbaijan Medical University) in Baku, the teams departed to 4 regions: Ganja, Agdash, Goranboy and Shamkir.  

Using the WHO Hospital Readiness Checklist, the REACT-C19 team of doctors made an assessment in selected capacities in the hospitals, made a joint action plan with the hospital management and started activities to address them. The use of a standardized assessment tool gave healthcare workers confidence in their daily activities.

The teams worked in establishing or strengthening Infection Prevention and Control Committees, and setting up triage systems. These are important interventions to minimize infection spread to health care workers, patients and their families. 

During this time, more than 400 healthcare workers including doctors, nurses and auxiliary personnel in hospitals (like cleaning staff, porters, cooks, etc.)  attended the hands-on training activities delivered by REACT-C19 teams. 

In addition to training and setting of standards, the teams also helped the local doctors in the management of critically ill patients. 

The REACT-C19 teams will continue their work in different parts of Azerbaijan until the end of June.

About REACT-C19 project 

In partnership with the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Ministry of Health, State Agency on Mandatory Health Insurance, TABIB, USAID, the British Embassy in Baku and the Republic of Korea WHO is implementing the Rapid Scale-up of Essential Capacities for COVID-19 (REACT-C19) project for strengthening essential response capacities Azerbaijan. 19 doctors in the specialty areas of infectious diseases, pulmonology, anesthesiology and reanimation, internal medicine, currently working in Turkey, form the backbone of the REACT-C19 teams.

IOM Azerbaijan announces a new approach for a safe return

BAKU, 14 May 2020 – After the Azerbaijani government has relaxed some of its strict quarantine measures on 27 April and in line with the UNCT guidelines for a phased return to the office, the IOM Azerbaijan office reassumes some of the office activities and started to provide the counseling sessions and implementation of the reintegration assistance to returnees. However, organizing a safe return to the office required a new approach. First, a split team system as a compromise between all employees working from home and having all employees back in the office have been adopted, and the second new seating arrangement that provide sufficient distance between the employees, and a third reminder of the personal protective equipment use.

“We are continuously monitoring the latest COVID19 development and follow the recommendation, and in the same time we are trying to create conditions for employees to have safe space to feel right when not everyone gets back to work at the same time,” says Vladimir Gjorgjiev, the Chief of UN IOM Mission in Azerbaijan.

Among additional protective measures taken at the IOM office to ensure a safe return to work by staff members are checking the temperatures of staff and visitors entering the premises, all recommendations and guidance of WHO are placed in prominent places around the workplace, provision of protective equipment such as face masks, hand sanitizers, frequent hygiene procedures, etc are used.

Among a few employees who are required to return to work are staff members of the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) project who needs to hold in-person meetings with returnees separated through the glass partition.

“During the peak of the pandemic, we temporarily canceled all meetings, but due to the fact that meetings in person are an essential part of our project we gradually started face to face meeting taking every possible measure in line with the WHO recommendations and guidance to protect workers and minimize the direct effects of the coronavirus in the workplace,” says Ilyas Nabiyev, the AVRR focal point of the Mission.

IOM is continuing its efforts to deliver reintegration assistance to returnees – the citizens of Azerbaijan who voluntarily returned to the country of origin under the AVRR projects.  IOM Azerbaijan provides its assistance activities for migrants returned from Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, the Netherlands, Turkey, and Latvia. One of the main parts of reintegration assistance besides educational activities, temporary housing, is employment or setting-up income-generating activity, e.g., small business for voluntarily returned migrants.

UN Secretary-General addresses summit of Non-Aligned Movement taking place on Azerbaijani president’s initiative

I thank President Aliyev of the Republic of Azerbaijan for convening this meeting.

Our societies are being severely tested.

Covid-19 has put the lives of billions of people around the globe in turmoil, inflicting grave suffering and destabilizing the global economy.

It has exposed the fragility of our societies and economies to shocks, and it has laid bare deep inequalities that threaten the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The only answer is brave, visionary and collaborative leadership.

The scale and complexity of this crisis demand a coordinated global response. 

We must recognize that not enough solidarity has been shown to the developing countries.

They need massive support, both to address gaps in their health systems as they deal with the pandemic, and to deal with the social and economic consequences for their societies.

We must ensure that an effective response to Covid-19 reaches everyone, everywhere, and that equality prevails.

With two-thirds of UN Member States, the Non-Aligned Movement has a critical role to play in forging global solidarity. 

We have three immediate priorities: to end the Covid-19 pandemic, to address its socio-economic impacts, and to use the recovery to build back better and leave no one behind.

We cannot afford to fall short on the aspirations of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.  

To that end, I reiterate the support of the United Nations for your efforts. 

I wish you a productive meeting.

May 4, 2020

UN Secretary General: “We are all in this Together – Human Rights and COVID-19 Response and Recovery”

The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency — but it is far more.

It is an economic crisis. A social crisis. And a human crisis that risks becoming a human rights crisis.

In February, I launched a Call to Action to put human dignity and the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the core of our work.

As I said then, human rights cannot be an afterthought in times of crisis — and we now face the biggest international crisis in generations.

Today, I am releasing a report highlighting how human rights can and must guide COVID-19 response and recovery.

The message is clear: People — and their rights — must be front and centre.

A human rights lens puts everyone in the picture and ensures that no one is left behind.

Human rights responses can help beat the pandemic, putting a focus on the imperative of healthcare for everyone.

But they also serve as an essential warning system — highlighting who is suffering most, why, and what can be done about it.

We have seen how the virus does not discriminate, but its impacts do — exposing deep weaknesses in the delivery of public services and structural inequalities that impede access to them. We must make sure they are properly addressed in the response.

We see the disproportionate effects on certain communities, the rise of hate speech, the targeting of vulnerable groups, and the risks of heavy-handed security responses undermining the health response.

Against the background of rising ethno-nationalism, populism, authoritarianism and a pushback against human rights in some countries, the crisis can provide a pretext to adopt repressive measures for purposes unrelated to the pandemic.

This is unacceptable.

More than ever, governments must be transparent, responsive and accountable. Civic space and press freedom are critical. Civil society organizations and the private sector have essential roles to play.

And in all we do, let’s never forget: The threat is the virus, not people.

We must ensure that any emergency measures — including states of emergency — are legal, proportionate, necessary and non-discriminatory, have a specific focus and duration, and take the least intrusive approach possible to protect public health.

The best response is one that responds proportionately to immediate threats while protecting human rights and the rule of law.

Looking ahead, we need to build back better. The Sustainable Development Goals — which are underpinned by human rights — provide the framework for more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies.

Strengthening economic and social rights bolsters resilience for the long haul.

The recovery must also respect the rights of future generations, enhancing climate action aiming at carbon neutrality by 2050 and protecting biodiversity.

We are all in this together.

The virus threatens everyone. Human rights uplift everyone.

By respecting human rights in this time of crisis, we will build more effective and

inclusive solutions for the emergency of today and the recovery for tomorrow.

Thank you.

Message of UN Secretary General on the Beginning of Ramadan

I extend my warmest wishes as millions of Muslims around the world begin observing the holy month of Ramadan.

This will, of course, be a very different Ramadan.  Many community activities will naturally be affected by measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.  Meanwhile, many people in conflict zones will once again be tragically marking this month with war and insecurity all around.

I recently called for an immediate global ceasefire to focus on our common enemy — the virus.  I repeat that appeal today, recalling the words of the Holy Quran “and if they incline to peace, then incline to it”.

Ramadan is also about supporting the most vulnerable.  I thank governments and people throughout the Muslim world who live by their faith, supporting those fleeing conflict in the best Islamic tradition of hospitality and generosity — a remarkable lesson in this world where so many doors have been closed to those in need of protection, even before COVID-19.

Once again, my best wishes to all for mercy, solidarity and compassion in these trying times. 

Ramadan Kareem.

UNICEF says COVID-19 pandemic requires comprehensive action to protect children’s safety, well-being and futures

BAKU, 17 April 2020 – The COVID-19 pandemic requires comprehensive measures to protect the safety, well-being and futures of children around the world, as outlined in a global Agenda for Action developed by UNICEF and echoing a new Policy Brief on the Impact of COVID-19 on Children released yesterday by the United Nations yesterday. Continue reading “UNICEF says COVID-19 pandemic requires comprehensive action to protect children’s safety, well-being and futures”

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