USAID and UNICEF renew their partnership to support the Government of Georgia in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new one-year program is a continuation of a fruitful cooperation between the two organizations which resulted in reaching over 1.9 million people in Georgia in 2020 with important messages on how to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19 and mitigating the impact of COVID-19.
The new project will further support the Government in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and minimizing the overall impact of the pandemic through: risk communication and community engagement; improved infection, prevention and control measures and water, sanitation and hygiene services; and provision of critical equipment and supplies to strengthen health services for the prevention and management of COVID-19, including COVID-19 vaccination and eHealth services.
“USAID has supported Georgia’s COVID-19 response since the early days of the pandemic in 2020. We believe the American people’s rapid emergency response significantly reduced the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, and laid the foundation for eventual recovery,” said USAID/Georgia Mission Director Peter Wiebler. “Now we are building on that assistance through new partnerships with trusted international partners, including UNICEF. Together, we will strengthen Georgia’s ability to get safe and effective vaccines to the people who need them most.”
“Launch of the new partnership initiative between USAID and UNICEF confirms our shared commitment to improving the lives of women and children in Georgia”, said Ghassan Khalil, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “With this generous support from USAID, we can continue working to ensure children and families have access to health care, critical prevention mechanisms and information amid the pandemic. Thanks to USAID for their continuous support for children, families and communities who will further benefit from our renewed partnership“, Khalil added.
The program will support the Government of Georgia, especially health authorities in implementing the COVID-19 Risk Communication and Community Engagement Strategy with a focus on addressing vaccine hesitancy and enhancing demand for vaccination. This will include outreach to influential groups such as teachers and school/preschool personnel, health workers, religious and community leaders in all regions of Georgia with targeted pro-vaccination messages delivered through community outreach, as well as using media and digital platforms. In addition, to counter disinformation and further spread correct information about COVID-19 risks and prevention mechanisms, UNICEF will work with young people to enhance their skills in digital literacy and to proactively debunk fake news.
UNICEF will continue obtaining real-time data to monitor the impact of the pandemic on children and families. Preschools, schools and health facilities in Georgia will be provided with hygiene and other infection prevention supplies and COVID-19 protective hygiene practices will be promoted among students, teachers, and young people.
Strengthening the existing e-Health infrastructure and technologies will further empower rural primary healthcare professionals to effectively manage suspected cases of COVID-19. UNICEF will also support the Government in strengthening the COVID-19 vaccine cold chain at central and local levels, with a focus on improving decentralized vaccine storage.
The first partnership project on responding to COVID-19 emergency was implemented in 2020-2021 and contributed to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 infection and lessen the anticipated socioeconomic impact on the most vulnerable children and families.