COVID-19 “Fair Action in Vaccine” Maldives: UN Resident Coordinator Blog |


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The the moldive Islands It has reported nearly 29,000 cases of the virus with 72 deaths as of April 29.

Such as World Immunization Week Reached the end, miss. Haswell It explains how the United Nations has supported the authorities in fighting the epidemic.



United Nations Maldives / Nashith Thuha

Catherine Haswell, United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Maldives (left) meets a group of local women.

“The Covid-19 The crisis was tough on the Maldives, leading to widespread health, social and economic challenges. On April 15, 2020, just two months after my arrival in the country, the capital, Male, entered a complete lockdown after the first positive case.

As Male is one of the most populous cities in the world, this was an important precaution that was taken into account in the government’s advanced planning and preparedness efforts.

It was also to reduce its spread to 200 remote local islands. In many ways, the beautiful geography of the Maldives was also a major mitigating factor to slow the transmission.

The closure of the Maldives’ borders has witnessed a major economic shock, with international tourism directly accounting for more than a quarter of the country’s GDP. This disruption affected children’s learning, jobs, and home evictions, and threatened food security due to impacts on the global supply chain.

These mutations, as we know from global experience, are a feature of the COVID-19 virus that we still face due to the social nature of humankind.

The Maldives has fought against a second surge in cases with focused and well-coordinated efforts by the government, communities and partners, making it possible to ease restrictions and reopen offices and public spaces by the end of 2020.

By February 2021, the country faced a third boom as the virus increasingly spread from the capital region to other atolls, causing movement restrictions to be imposed again until last month.

These mutations, as we know from global experience, are a feature of the COVID-19 virus that we still face due to the social nature of humankind.

We spent the last Ramadan confined to our homes, and long-awaited cultural practices, such as sharing food with loved ones, were sacrificed to contain the spread of disease.

Now, a year after the lockdown began, Maldivians are watching for a second week of fasting as they continue the daily fight against COVID-19. But there is also room for hope.

With the start of the national vaccination campaign this year, I am optimistic that we will see the light at the end of the tunnel soon.



UNICEF / Ali

100,000 syringes provided by UNICEF reach the Maldives.

The fairness of the vaccine in action

The government of the Maldives started the national vaccination program “COVID-19 Dhifaau” (COVID-19 Defense) on February 1, 2021, with the aim of vaccinating the entire population against the virus.

Free vaccination is open to all residents and those living in the Maldives, regardless of their nationality or legal status, and it is a good example of ensuring that no one is left on the road to recovery.

To avoid the collapse of the healthcare system and mitigate the severe impacts, primary priority has been given to health care workers and those on the front lines as well as the elderly and other at-risk groups.

Due to the dispersed nature of the archipelago, those who work or live far from their families and loved ones will finally be able to be reunited without quarantine and COVID tests more than a year away.

About 278,000 people, nearly 60 percent of the eligible population, received their first dose of the vaccine. The administration of the second dose is also continuing, although the process has slowed a bit due to the limited hours available during Ramadan.

Given that no one is safe until everyone is safe, the government is also offering free vaccinations to undocumented migrant workers in the country. The Maldives approach is a good example of vaccine justice at work.

With the successful implementation of vaccines, the government has just announced the easing of travel restrictions between islands.

Due to the dispersed nature of the archipelago, those who work or live apart from their families and loved ones will finally be able to be reunited without quarantine and COVID tests after more than a year of separation.

Personally, I look forward to receiving my second dose of the vaccine and being able to speak with the people of the Maldives about their challenges, hopes and dreams for the future they want in the communities in which they live, across the 871 kilometers of the country.

These conversations, particularly with the most vulnerable, will be critical in shaping the way in which the United Nations in the Maldives can better support rebuilding towards decentralized services and more inclusive societies.



Maldivian Red Crescent

The National Immunization Program began in the Maldives in February 2021.

United Nations response and recovery support

The United Nations team in the Maldives has been steadfast in supporting the government’s response to COVID-19 since the early stages of the pandemic. Through joint efforts with partners, the United Nations continues to provide health and medical equipment with technical support such as training and capacity building of stakeholders to control the spread of the virus.

In addition to the immediate health response, the UN is also supporting the social and economic response in areas such as ensuring the safe return of children to school, expanding access to psychosocial support services, and supporting advocacy and community resilience through communications about risks.

To complement the national vaccination efforts, the United Nations provides cold chain management, supply and storage of vaccines. Technical support is also provided in planning, coordination and training that necessitates the vaccination process.

As we approach May 2021, the future remains uncertain and with many unprecedented challenges anticipated on our road to recovery. I am in awe of the commitment and determination of the healthcare workers and those who keep fighting on the front lines. “


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