How DCA reacts to the global crisis
We take care of each other.
The COVID-19 outbreak underlines how fragile our lives are and how important it is for us to take care of each other. Every single country is in the risk of being infected, if they are not already infected by the deadly virus.
Because of the unusual circumstances we have been forced to change the way we work. And we have changed focus in some of the regions we work in, to prevent people from being infected with the corona-virus.
Are our programs still in progress?
Yes, the majority of all our programs are still in progress. We must take care of one another in this difficult time, and we must also take care of the world's poorest. The spread of the coronavirus varies from country to country, so we make sure to follow the rules of the countries concerned.
This may mean that we have to suspend our work for short periods of time in order to comply with the rules of each country. In Lebanon, our demining work has been put on hold until the 1st of April 2020. In South Sudan we have also had to cease our demining activities.
Do we bring employees back to Denmark?
Most employees in our international work are national staff. They will of course stay in the country and continue their work for as long as the circumstances permit. However, as the situation is constantly evolving, we are in constant contact with all our country offices. The safety of our employees is a very high priority.
Are we helping countries that have vulnerable health systems?
Yes, but in general our efforts do not focus on primary care services such as medicine, doctors and hospital operations. Fortunately, that's the focus of many other organizations.
Our focus is on general public health, and we are therefore working on providing hand disinfectant, soap, hand washing facilities and informative material on hygiene where needed.
As we get a little further along, we will also assess the need to support people who have lost their livelihoods. For example, poor families that are pushed into extreme poverty because they lose their jobs or cannot have their goods/crops sold, due to the corona-crisis.
What can we do to fight COVID-19 in the developing countries?
With weak health systems, few beds in hospitals and no access to respirators, the people infected by corona will have difficulty getting help in many of the countries where we work. In the first place it is a matter of preventing the coronavirus from spreading, by providing information on hygiene and giving access to hygiene and cleaning supplies.
We are also aware that as we enter spring and summer at home, southern Africa enters their autumn and winter. Therefore, an increase in the spread of infection can be expected, and thus increased efforts are needed. We are constantly following developments closely.
How do you ensure that your employees in each country do not help spread the infection? What measures have you taken?
We have given all employees and offices hand disinfectant to the extent that it has been possible in the individual countries. A lot of people are working from home now as a way of protecting our employees. Right now, we are also working on arranging transportation for core staff so that they can avoid public traffic.
Does the coronavirus mean that there will be less money for other important areas such as climate and schooling for the world's poorest?
It is still far too early to say, but it is obvious that DCA is looking at ways of allocating and perhaps, in some cases, shifting funds to upcoming emergency relief efforts related to victims of the corona infection.