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PSE in Health Webinar -the module 3 summary is in!

​The summary and the slides from our presenters can be viewed here​. You can also share your comments and ask further questions in the forum​.

27/05/2021 19:05
Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Webinar - the summary is now available

Besides the summary, you will find a comprehensive set of additional resources on AMR and on the SDC projects presented during the event here. Happy reading!

27/05/2021 19:03
Geneva Health Forum | 16-18 November 2020 | Fully virtual

​The GHF will be held in 10 days and will be fully virtual!

With the overall goal of contributing to improve health and care access in the world, the Geneva Health Forum brings together key global health actors to discuss current global health challenges. With an average of over 1500 participants from all sectors (such as field actors, academics, and the private sector) the Geneva Health Forum gives a voice to actors from the field and bridges them with policy-makers present in Geneva. In order to help answer to current challenges, the Geneva Health Forum gives visibility to innovative, accessible and sustainable practices and tools that can allow for better access to health and care worldwide. ​

Please find all information, schedule and registration links on the GHF website​.

05/11/2020 16:19
Finding fit-for-purpose tools in the fight against chronic disease

​Finding fit-for-purpose tools in the fight against chronic disease

Humanitarians are increasingly aware that underlying non-communicable diseases compound the acute crises they are more focused on. The understanding that emergency response is no longer about emergencies alone triggered ICRC’s Innovation team to support a unique collaboration among their humanitarian partners, the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) and the private sector. This intervention receives support from SDC.

Please read more in the this article.

05/11/2020 13:15
​The open-source software for health financing operations

The open-source software for health financing operations

More than five million people are covered by health insurance schemes run on openIMIS, a free and open source software developed with German and SDC support. By bringing together information from multiple stakeholders – beneficiaries, providers, and players – into a single digital platform, openIMIS makes it possible to manage social health protection schemes at scale, thereby enabling a gradual expansion in coverage in hitherto excluded populations. By the end of 2020, SDC and BMZ are launching a catalytic fund in order to allow new countries or institutions to adapt and implement OpenIMIS.

Read more on this initiative in the this article.

For more details:

03/11/2020 08:58
Diagnostic testing for COVID-19

​Diagnostic testing for COVID-19

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, laboratories have been using nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), such as real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) assays, to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease. In many countries, access to this form of testing has been challenging. The search is on to develop reliable but less expensive and faster diagnostic tests that detect antigens specific for SARS-CoV-2 infection. But rapid antigen tests aren’t as sensitive as the gold standard RT-PCR technology that has been widely used until now and the WHO advises for careful test selection.

Both the Swiss international cooperation and the Swiss pharmaceutical sector have a long-standing experience and interest in supporting R&D, access and manufacturing of diagnostics. The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) supported by the SDC is leading the global effort (ACT-A Dx Partnership) in the development of affordable COVID-19 diagnostics and local manufacturing capacity for and in LMICs. 

Official communication

Diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2 [WHO - 11 September 2020]

Antigen-detection in the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection using rapid immunoassays: interim guidance [WHO - 11 September 2020]

The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator


Scientific articles

Combined anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgA, IgG, and IgM Detection as a Better Strategy to Prevent Second Infection Spreading Waves [Immunological investigations – 18 September 2020]

Massive and rapid COVID-19 testing is feasible by extraction-free SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR [nature communications – 23 September 2020]

Meta-analysis of Diagnostic Performance of Serology Tests for COVID-19: Impact of Assay Design and Post-symptom-onset Intervals [Emerging microbes & infections – 22 September 2020]


Press releases

Rapid Covid-19 tests could offer a path back to normal [ – 23 September 2020]

FDA ranks the performance of 58 molecular coronavirus tests from major developers [Fierce Biotech – 16 September 2020]

24/09/2020 11:21
Africa eradicates wild poliovirus

Africa eradicates wild poliovirus

Last week, the Africa Regional Certification Commission certified the WHO African Region as wild polio-free after four years without a case. With this historic milestone, five of the six WHO regions – representing over 90% of the world’s population – are now free of the wild poliovirus, moving the world closer to achieving global polio eradication.

Below is a brief summary of the main milestones leading to this major achievement.

In the 1900s, polio was one of the most feared childhood diseases in industrialized nations and by the 1950s, an estimated 600’000 people were paralysed each year around the world. Since 1954, the development and widespread rollout of the polio vaccine across industrialized countries lead to a steep drop in polio incidence but polio cases in Africa were increasing. In 1988 the WHO endorses a resolution to eradicate polio worldwide by the year 2000 and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched. In the 1990s, the GPEI made huge investments in training, immunization infrastructure and equipment, disease surveillance, data management and high-level coordination across Africa and in 2000, the number of annual wild poliovirus cases had dropped to under 1000. The final march toward certification of eradication was marked by huge setbacks as well as the introduction of many innovative strategies and technologies. The announcement on the 25 August 2020 certifying that the WHO African Region have eradicated wild polioviruses is a major public health achievement leaving the devastating disease endemic in only two countries worldwide.

SDC has contributed to this achievement by supporting the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia between 2013 and 2016. This support helped achieving global standard polio surveillance in those three countries. Moreover, SDC provided specific support in 2016 and 2017, through GPEI, to African countries for the elaboration of "transition plans" that aim at using expertise created through the polio programme for the management of other communicable diseases (ex: surveillance and immunization functions). Furthermore the Swiss core contributions to WHO and UNICEF continuously supports the global efforts to tackle infectious diseases by building effective surveillance and immunization systems worldwide.

Global polio eradication initiative applauds WHO African region for wild polio-free certification [WHO – 25 August 2020]

Africa eradicates wild poliovirus [WHO – 25 August 2020]

Polio Eradication-A Battle I fought with undiluted passion, says Professor Oyewale Tomori, a major player who made this feat possible [WHO – 25 August 2020]

Africa kicks out wild polio campaign

Timeline: Polio Eradication in the African Region

Photo copyright: WHO

02/09/2020 11:29
COVID-19 highlights the need for safe, nutritious and affordable food

​COVID-19 highlights the need for safe, nutritious and affordable food

COVID-19 does not treat us equally. Undernourished people have weaker immune systems, and may be at greater risk of severe illness due to the virus. At the same time, poor metabolic health, including obesity and diabetes - conditions that disproportionately affect disadvantaged populations -, is strongly linked to worse COVID-19 outcomes, including risk of hospitalisation and death.

Technical Guidance

Nutrition and Food Safety (NFS) and COVID-19 [WHO - 2020]

Nutrition advice for adults during the COVID-19 outbreak [WHO - 2020]

Food and nutrition tips during self-quarantine [WHO – 2020]

The 2020 Global Nutrition Report in the context of Covid-19 [Glbal Nutrition Report – 2020]

Scientific articles

Individuals with obesity and COVID‐19: A global perspective on the epidemiology and biological relationships [Obesity Reviews – 30 July 2020

Could Vitamins Help in the Fight Against COVID-19? [Nutrients – 23 August 2020]

Covid-19 and Disparities in Nutrition and Obesity [The New England Journal of Medicine – 15 July 2020]

COVID-19: repositioning nutrition research for the next pandemic [Nutrition Research – September 2020]

Press releases

Coronavirus may shock us into dealing with a leading cause of death – malnutrition [Independent – 24 August 2020]

Obesity Raises the Risk of Death From Covid-19 Among Men [New York Times – 14 August 2020]

Coronavirus: Obesity 'increases risks from Covid-19' [BBC – 26 August 2020]

31/08/2020 12:56
PMNCH compendium of COVID-19 related resources on women's, children's and adolescents' health

PMNCH compendium of COVID-19 related resources on women's, children's and adolescents' health

To stay informed of the latest guidance and resources around COVID-19 and its effects on women, children and adolescent health, PMNCH has developed a compendium of resources that brings together the latest evidence-based information on women, children and adolescent health in the context of COVID-19. This compendium will be developed as a living repository of the most up to-date guidance from WHO and other UN Agencies.

Please find the website here:

04/08/2020 07:12
COVID-19 vaccines: where do we stand?

​COVID-19 vaccines: where do we stand?

The race to find a vaccine to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus is on. In total 148 candidate vaccines are currently being investigated and 17 are in human clinical trials. The vaccine in the most advanced phase is a vaccine developed by the University of Oxford (Phase 3 clinical trials). The vaccine is currently being tested in more than 10 000 people from the UK, Brazil and South Africa. If the vaccine is proven to be both safe and effective, the first doses are expected to be available in late 2020.

To ensure equitable and fair allocation of COVID-19 products, the WHO is working on a global allocation framework. Moreover, countries are invited to join a mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. While Switzerland is part of a group of 75 countries that have expressed initial interest to potentially participate as a self-financing country, it will in any case participate as a donor country to support the Gavi's COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) that aims at ensuring access to COVID vaccines for up to 90 lower-middle-income countries.

Official documentation

Draft landscape of COVID-19 candidate vaccines [WHO – 27 July 2020]

The latest in the COVID-19 vaccine race [Gavi – Updated 30 June 2020]

First African Trial of a COVID-19 Vaccine  [Gavi – 30 June 2020]

A global framework to ensure equitable and air allocation of COVID-19 products [WHO – 23rd July 2020]

More than 150 countries engaged in COVID-19 vaccine global access facility [WHO – 15 July 2020]


Scientific articles

Coronavirus vaccines leap through safety trials – but which will work is anybody's guess [Nature – 21 July]

COVID-19 vaccine affordability and accessibility [The Lancet – 25 July 2020]

COVID-19: A Review on Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prophylaxis [International journal of molecular sciences – 21 July 2020]

COVID-19 vaccines for all? [The Lancet – 13 June 2020]

Image credit: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance [30.06.2020]

31/07/2020 08:24
Advancing Universal Health Coverage - UHC 2030

Advancing Universal Health Coverage - UHC 2030

In September 2019, at the United Nations High-Level Meeting (UN HLM) «Universal Health Coverage: Moving Together to Build a Healthier World», world leaders endorsed the most ambitious and comprehensive political declaration on health history. In endorsing the declaration, they recommitted to ensure that, by 2030, everyone in every country can receive all the quality health services they need without suffering financial hardship. Ahead of the HLM, diverse actors across the UHC movement came together behind an ambitious set of ‘Key Asks’ for accelerating achievement of UHC, plus gender equality as a foundational principle for UHC.

Under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Switzerland has committed itself to improving health for all at all ages. To this end, it is aiming over the long term to achieve universal health coverage and a coordinated approach to the social, economic, cultural and environmental determinants of health. The SDC has defined Advancing Universal Health Coverage as a key priority in its Health Strategic Guidance 2020-2030 which is currently being finalized.

Monitoring progress on UHC and holding governments accountable to take the necessary actions may require data that is not be readily collected by national institutions when it comes to political dimensions around rights, governance and equity. It will also involve providing empirical assessments of the experiences of people, especially the vulnerable, in accessing health services rather than taking at face value policy documents which document what ought to be happening.

To better understand this, UHC2030 is producing a multi-stakeholder review called the State of UHC Commitment with hard data about how governments are delivering on their commitment to UHC.

You can share your observations, anecdotes and materials that tell the real story of health care in your country. All the stories and experiences will be compiled and used in a global synthesis report, but also in individual country profiles, which anyone will be able to use for national advocacy.

Please find more information on the UHC2030 platform here and participate to the survey here.

15/07/2020 19:18
​Launch of the AMR Action Fund

Launch of the AMR Action Fund

Antimicrobial resistance, AMR, is one of the biggest global health threat. It is estimated that AMR could claim 10 million lives per year by 2050, if urgent action is not taken. The AMR Action Fund launched last week expects to invest more than US$1 billion in smaller biotech companies and provide industry expertise to support the clinical development of novel antibiotics. The concept of the AMR Action Fund has been developed in collaboration between the WHO, the European Investment Bank and the Wellcome Trust.

The SDC is facilitated the launch of a new partnership addressing AMR challenges from the manufacturing side through the Responsible Antibiotics Manufacturing Platform (RAMP) platform. This platform will bring together actors from civil society, governments and the pharmaceutical industry and could mean a major breakthrough for responsible manufacturing of antibiotics.

WHO Director-General opening remarks at the AMR Action Fund Launch

Pharma industry commits $1bn to fight drug-resistant superbugs

14/07/2020 15:05
COVID-19 in Africa

COVID-19 in Africa​

After Latin America, there are strong fears that the epidemic will hit Africa harder in the coming weeks. Africa recorded its first case of the new disease in mid-February. While it took nearly 100 days to reach 100,000 cases, the jump to 200,000 cases occurred in less than 20. WHO recommends that as restrictions are lifted, countries must ensure that they can continue to test for COVID-19 while also providing access to essential health services.

Official communications and guidance

Latest Outbreak brief  [Africa CDC – 23th June 2020]

Daily updates [Africa CDC Dashboard]

Guidance for African countries [Africa CDC Resources]

COVID-19 Strategic Response Plan in the WHO African Region [WHO]

African Medical Supplies Platform [Africa CDC]

Guidance on Environmental decontamination in the context of COVID-19 [Africa CDC]

Funding [CDC Africa COVID-19 Response Fund]

Scientific articles

Covid‐19: A Perspective on Africa's Capacity and Response [Journal of Medical Virology – 11th June 2020]

The role of testing in infectious disease control: A case of COVID-19 in Africa [International Journal of Infectious Diseases – 30th June 2020]

COVID-19 in Africa: no room for complacency [The Lancet – 30th May 2020]

COVID-19 in Africa: Care and Protection for Frontline Healthcare Workers [Globalization and Health – 15th May 2020]

Press release

COVID-19 in Africa [Africa Center for Strategic Studies]

Compilation of all official press releases on Africa []

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Partners to launch the Africa Communications Information Platform in response to COVID-19 [africanews. – 20th June 2020]

Tracking Africa's coronavirus cases [Al Jazeera – 23rd June 2020]

Africa tasks China to scale up COVID-19 support as Xi meets leaders [africanews. – 19th June 2020]

Coronavirus in Africa: Outbreak 'accelerating' across continent [BBC – 11th June 2020]

06/07/2020 09:08
COVID-19: Opportunities for a rise in local e-health solutions?

COVID-19: Opportunities for a rise in local e-health solutions?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic the e-health innovations sector in Africa was led primarily by large technology companies and budgets were largely absorbed by foreign solutions, notably in the market for electronic medical records software. Local e-health ventures and start-ups were often overlooked by health sector investors as they were considered to be small and insubstantial. However, Disrupt Africa, which supports the nascent start-up technology industry on the continent and publishes the annual “African Tech Start-ups Funding Report” has observed that investors are increasingly recognising the value of smaller, local e-health sector entrepreneurs that have proven their skills in developing innovative solutions to gaps in the local pandemic response. An article just published by the Lancet Digital Health describes the opportunities presented by COVID-19 as a “watershed moment for Africa’s COVID-19 technologies”

Local public and private solutions are increasingly and successfully being deployed to disseminate COVID-19 messaging in local languages and are proving to be pivotal in rapidly strengthening outbreak communication, contact tracing, tracking essential technology and commodities such as ventilators (see for example: ). Reports are emerging of a convergence of investment and wealth creation with the rise in local pandemic e-solutions, as both businesses and foundations such as the Ventures Platform Foundation support the strengthening of capacities of African entrepreneurs and innovators in leveraging technology to create sustainable solutions to the most urgent problems on the continent. The Ventures Foundation, for example, set up an innovation platform in Nigeria called #COVID19InnovationChallenge to which health technology start-ups were invited to submit concepts to address COVID-19, by focussing on heat mapping, preventative and informative bots, solutions to assist with lifestyle adjustments and verified case reports. Of more than 500 applications, seven national start-ups have been granted funding and mentorship. Further information on the successful concepts and ventures can be accessed here:

29/06/2020 09:16
The Lancet: Global governance for COVID-19 vaccines

The Lancet: Global governance for COVID-19 vaccines

Enormous amounts of public money and resources poured into vaccine research and development have resulted in more than 150 COVID-19 vaccine candidates, ten of which are now in clinical trials. Neither a nationalist nor a free-market-driven approach will lead to equal access to vaccines. It is imperative that more governments and pharmaceutical companies agree to shoulder the costs of vaccine research and manufacturing, and to share data and technologies. They need to commit to WHO allocation guidelines and cooperate globally to distribute vaccines fairly to those at greatest risk. A pandemic vaccine needs strong global governance behind it. Read the article

23/06/2020 12:46
COVID-19: Lack of proactive pandemic planning at the expense of tackling other diseases

COVID-19: Lack of proactive pandemic planning at the expense of tackling other diseases

In her article published in the Lancet Microbe this month “COVID-19 diagnostics—not at the expense of other diseases“ Priya Venkatesan expresses concern that intense focus on COVID-19 might hinder the efforts and undo progress made in controlling other infectious diseases Of immediate concern at the grass-roots level is impact on care seeking and the article likens the current situation for many rural poor people with the rise in deaths due to other preventable diseases during the 2014–16 Ebola virus crisis in Liberia.

Brown and Head write that they have shown through the Research Investments in Global Health (RESIN) study that research funding is reactive - whereby investment follows disease outbreaks – evident, for example, with Ebola virus disease, Zika virus disease, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). However, there is a need for more proactive planning and investment in research and development.

As a consequence of the COVID-19 epidemic, WHO has published “A coordinated global research roadmap" and gathers the latest international multilingual scientific findings and knowledge on COVID-19, which it presents in the publically accessible Global Research Database, accessible here: . The global literature cited in the WHO COVID-19 database is updated daily from searches of bibliographic databases, hand searching, and the addition of other expert-referred scientific articles.

Kate Molesworth, Swiss TPH

11/06/2020 09:14
The next phase of COVID-19: lifting lockdowns

The next phase of COVID-19: lifting lockdowns

Since the beginning of 2020, over a third of the world’s population has at one time or another been shut away at home. The drastic measures put in place to slow the spread of the pandemic have come with large impacts on the world economy. Many countries are now seeking to put lockdowns behind them but risks in term of p​ublic health are still present. 

Technical Guidance

Considerations in adjusting public health and social measures in the context of COVID-19: interim guidance [WHO]

Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19 [WHO]

Key planning recommendations for Mass Gatherings in the context of the current COVID-19 outbreak [WHO]


Scientific articles

Modelling SARS-COV2 Spread in London: Approaches to Lift the Lockdown [The Journal of infection – 24 May 2020]

Preparing for a Responsible Lockdown Exit Strategy [Nature Medicine – 14 April 2020]

Probable Exit Strategy Against COVID-19 of Low Resource Country Like Nepal: Open Floor Discussion [Journal of the Nepal Medical Association – 30 April 2020]


Press releases

Lifting lockdowns: the when, why and how [The Economist – 23 May 2020]

Emerging countries lift lockdowns despite Covid-19 cases surge [Financial Times – 20 May 2020]

Coronavirus: How dangerous is lifting lockdown? [BBC – 2nd June 2020]

Coronavirus: How lockdown is being lifted across Europe [BBC – 2nd June 2020]

After New Coronavirus Outbreaks, China Imposes Wuhan-Style Lockdown [The New York Times – 21 May 2020]

Despite fears of a second wave, lockdowns are lifting – here's what it looks like [World Economic Forum – 12 May 2020]​​

09/06/2020 11:47
New guidance documents for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic

​New guidance documents for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic

On 22 May WHO published its COVID19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan Operational Planning Guidelines to Support Country Preparedness and Response to COVID-19. It provides practical guidance for governments and national authorities (as well as the supporting UN country teams and other partners) to develop and update their national plans.

Guidance is structured across the main pillars of COVID‑19 preparedness and response, namely:

1. Country‑level coordination, planning and monitoring;

2. Risk communication and community engagement;

3. Surveillance, rapid-response teams, and case investigation;

4. Points of entry, international travel and transport;

5. National laboratories;

6. Infection prevention and control;

7. Case management;

8. Operational support and logistics;

9. Maintaining essential health services and systems.


The guide, which can be downloaded here: provides new recommendations for action, including: maintaining essential health services and systems during outbreaks, and focused considerations for community transmission in low-capacity and humanitarian settings.

At the same time as publishing the Operational Planning Guidelines, WHO also released its COVID19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan Monitoring and Evaluation Framework, which can be accessed here:

The Framework aims to support countries to assess performance and provide information to support analysis of progress against their COVID‑19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plans. It provides guidance on framework indicators aligned with the nine main pillars of COVID‑19 preparedness and response, articulated in the Operation Planning Guidelines.

Kate Molesworth, Swiss TPH

26/05/2020 11:48
Global Initiatives launched in response to COVID-19

​Global Initiatives launched in response to COVID-19

During the G20 extraordinary Summit in March 2020, the World's leaders stated that combatting the COVID-19 pandemic calls for a transparent, robust, coordinated, large-scale and science-based global response. Since then, a number of different initiatives and coalitions have been launched to jointly develop R&D and access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. The aim of a global approach is to ensure that all technologies will be simultaneously and promptly available in an equitable and efficient way that is affordable to all.

As part of the Swiss global response to the Covid outbreak, SDC will supports the development of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines. The Global Health Programme is currently in negotiation with the Wellcome Trust, FIND and the WHO for specific support


Global Initiatives

WHO: Global collaboration to accelerate new COVID-19 health technologies

WHO: Access to COVID-19 Tools (act) Accelerator

WHO: R&D Blueprint and COVID-19

COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition

Coronavirus (COVID-19): supporting global research and development

CEPI: CEPI's response to COVID-19

GAVI: GAVI'S proposal for an advance market commitment for covid-19 vaccines

UN: UN COVID-19 Supply Chain Task Force

Global Coronavirus COVID-19 Clinical Trial Tracker



Global coalition to accelerate COVID-19 clinical research in resource-limited settings [The Lancet – 25 April 2020]

COVID-19: time to plan for prompt universal access to diagnostics and treatments [The Lancet Global Health – 16 April 2020]

A real-time dashboard of clinical trials for COVID-19 [The Lancet Digital Health – 24 April 2020]

Once we have a vaccine, how will it be shared fairly around the world? [The Guardian – 25 April 2020]

How can we develop a COVID-19 vaccine quickly? [Wellcome – 22 April 2020]

COVID-19: how researchers around the world are racing to understand the virus and prevent future outbreaks [Wellcome – 29 April 2020]

26/05/2020 08:25
The impacts of COVID-19 on Humanitarian Crises

The impacts of COVID-19 on Humanitarian Crises

COVID-19 represents a still greater threat to those in complex humanitarian contexts, where conflict, political instability, resource limitations, poor governance and stigmatization further reduce access to limited healthcare. Considering the diverse needs of people and adapting the response to make sure it is inclusive to different groups is more important than ever.

This page also provides a list of articles related to the situation in countries facing humanitarian crisis. ​


Official communications and technical guidances

COVID-19 and the Core Humanitarian Standard: How to meet our CHS commitments in the coronavirus pandemic [Core Humanitarian Standard – 14 April 2020]

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) technical guidance: Humanitarian operations, camps, and other fragile settings as well as refugees and migrants in non-humanitarian and non-camp settings [WHO – April 2020]

Interim Guidance on Scaling-up COVID-19 Outbreak in Readiness and Response Operations in Camps and Camp-like Settings [jointly developed by IFRC, IOM, UNHCR and WHO – 17 March 2020]

UN launches major humanitarian appeal to keep COVID-19 from 'circling back around the globe' [UN News – 25 March 2020]

SDC Working Aid Covid-19 response for the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector [SDC – 3 April 2020] [ici en français​] [hier auf Deutsch]

COVID-19 and Humanitarian crisis [COVID-19 Humanitarian]


Scientific articles

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in complex humanitarian crises [International Journal for Equity in Health – 21 March 2020]

COVID-19 in Humanitarian Settings and Lessons Learned From Past Epidemics [Nature Medicine – 8 April 2020]

Slum Health: Arresting COVID-19 and Improving Well-Being in Urban Informal Settlements. [Journal of Urban Health – 24 April 2020]

The COVID-19 response for vulnerable people in places affected by conflict and humanitarian crises [The Lancet – 4 May 2020]



Coronavirus aid must aim far beyond the short-term health response [The New Humanitarian – 11 May 2020]

The Impact of COVID-19 on Humanitarian Crises [CSIS – 19 March 2020]

Faced with COVID-19, the Humanitarian System Should Rethink its Business Model [Center for Global Development – 7 April 2020]

This age of COVID-19 demands new emergency ethics [The New Humanitarian – 18 March 2020]

COVID-19 in humanitarian crises: a double emergency [International Rescue Committee – 9 April 2020]

Between COVID-19 and humanitarian crises: which one to choose? [CERAH]

COVID-19 compromises social networks. What this means for people in humanitarian crises [The conversation – 29 March 2020]

The COVID-19 excuse? How migration policies are hardening around the globe [The New Humanitarian – 17 April 2020]

What are the opportunities COVID-19 creates for the humanitarian sector? [devex – 14 April 2020]

How cities can support informal workers: COVID-19 and beyond [Wiego – 14 April 2020]

COVID-19 cruelly highlights inequalities and threatens to deepen them [ILO – 30 March 2020]

COVID-19: How to include marginalized and vulnerable people in risk communication and community engagement [IFRC, OCHA, WHO – 15 March 2020]

Coronavirus emergency aid funding [The New Humanitarian – 23 April 2020]


Articles about covid-19 situation in countries facing humanitarian crisis

Coronavirus and aid: What we're watching, 14-20 May [The New Humanitarian]

COVID-19 in Yemen, pandemic aid costings, and military executions: The Cheat Sheet [The New Humanitarian – 8 May 2020]

Covid-19: Doctors warn of humanitarian catastrophe at Europe's largest refugee camp [BMJ – 17 March 2020]

Northwest Syria will “struggle to cope in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic" [MSF – 14 April 2020]

COVID-19 crisis 'unlike any we have dealt with', as new tragedy looms for Syria [UN – 2 April 2020]

Somalia: One of the countries least prepared to cope with the Covid-19 virus [CARE – 17 April 2020]

In Bangladesh, COVID-19 threatens to cause a humanitarian crisis [World Economic Forum – 6 April 2020]

Coronavirus in the Rohingya camps: Five key issues to watch [The New Humanitarian – 15 May 2020]

COVID-19: Middle East faces health crisis, socio-economic earthquake [ICRC – 16 April 2020]

COVID-19 turns the clock back on the war in Ukraine, as needs grow [The New Humanitarian – 20 April 2020]

Syria: Aid Restrictions Hinder Covid-19 Response [Human Rights Watch – 28 April 2020]

Locked down in Libya: One refugee's reflections on conflict and COVID-19 [The New Humanitarian – 29 April 2020]​

Photo: UNHCR/Samuel Otieno​

19/05/2020 11:46
Covid-19 Health Impacts on Migrants

​Covid-19 Health Impacts on Migrants

Migrants and refugees face similar health threats from COVID-19 as their host populations. However, because of their migratory movements, limited employment opportunities, poor living and working conditions, many have more health-related risks and vulnerabilities than the general population.

Have a look at the analysis jointly developed with the SDC Network on Migration & Development on The health impact of covid-19 on migrants and forcibly displaced populations.

Photo: UNOCHA/Shahrokh Pazhman
12/05/2020 11:16
Implications of COVID-19 on sexual and reproductive health and rights

​Implications of COVID-19 on sexual and reproductive health and rights

Many services in relation to sexual and reproductive health and rights are time sensitive and important to be available also in times of crisis, such as perinatal services, access contraception and HIV testing and antiretroviral therapy. Moreover, Covid-19 is associated with increased reports of domestic violence which requests for increased prevention of and response to sexual and gender-based violence.

Technical guidances

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and Sexual and Reproductive Health [WHO – 7 April 2020]

IPPF technical guidance [IPPF – April 2020]

IMAP Statement on COVID-19 and Sexual and  Reproductive Health and Rights [IPPF – April 2020]

Sexual and Reproductive Health During the COVID-19 Crisis [IWHC – 25 March 2020]

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Maternal and Newborn Health & COVID-19 [Preparedness and Response UNFPA Interim Technical Brief – 23 March 2020]

Scientific articles

Centring sexual and reproductive health and justice in the global COVID-19 response [The Lancet – 11 April 2020]

COVID-19: What implications for sexual and reproductive health and rights globally? [SRHM – 2 April 2020]

Emerging Infectious Diseases and Outbreaks: Implications for Women's Reproductive Health and Rights in Resource-Poor Settings [Reproductive Health – 1 April 2020]


Million more cases of violence, child marriage, female genital mutilation, unintended pregnancy expected due to COVID-19 pandemic [UNFPA News – 28 April 2020]

Imprisoned, quarantined women need hygiene supplies in El Salvador [UNFPA News – 21 April 2020]

Opinion: How will COVID-19 affect global access to contraceptives — and what can we do about it? [DevEx – 11 March 2020]

Photo: UNFPA Syria

07/05/2020 08:49
Severity of COVID-19 infection associated with NCDs co-morbidities

​Severity of COVID-19 infection associated with NCDs co-morbidities

The most commonly reported non-communicable diseases that have been shown to predict poor prognosis in patients with COVID-19 include diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cerebrovascular disease, coronary artery disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Yang et al’s “Prevalence of comorbidities and its effects in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2: a systematic review and meta-analysis” analysed seven studies including 1,576 infected patients to determine that the most prevalent comorbidities of COVID-19 were hypertension (21.1%) and diabetes (9.7 %), followed by cardiovascular disease (8.4%) and respiratory system disease (1.5%). Similarly, Yang et al’s “Clinical course and outcomes of critically ill patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a single-centered, retrospective, observational study” showed that among 32 non-survivors from a group of 52 intensive care patients, the most distinctive pre-existing non-communicable comorbidities were cerebrovascular diseases (22%) and diabetes (22%). The full report is accessible here:

Severity of disease among patients with COVID-19 also has an association with NCD comorbidities. In a study of 1,099 confirmed cases from 30 provinces in China, Guan et al report that compared with patients with non-severe symptoms, the 173 patients with severe disease had a higher prevalence of hypertension (13.4% vs 23.75%), diabetes (5.7% vs 16.2%), cardiovascular disease (1.8% vs 5.8%), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (0.6% vs 3.5%) and cerebrovascular disease (1.2% vs 2.3%). Guan et al’s article “Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China” can be accessed here:

There is emerging evidence that overweight and obesity alone impact negatively on the severity of disease and hospital outcomes for people infected with COVID-19. In their article “Covid-19 in Critically Ill Patients in the Seattle Region-Case Series” Bhatraju et al identified patients from nine hospitals near Seattle, USA, who were admitted to intensive care units with confirmed infection. Of 24 patients, with an average age of 64 years, only three patients were of normal body mass index (BMI), seven were overweight, and 13 were obese. Although the sample size is too small for meaningful statistical analyses, 85% of the patients with obesity required mechanical ventilation and 62% of the patients with obesity died. Mortality was much lover in patients without obesity, 64% of whom required mechanical ventilation and 36% who died. The full article can be accessed here:

Larger sets of data from in Shenzhen, China, and New York City, USA better substantiate rising concerns over the poor outcomes of COVID-19 infection in overweight and obese people. Qingxian et al. in their pre-print (an early manuscript that has not been fully peer reviewed yet, for formal publication) Lancet article “Obesity and COVID-19 severity in a designated hospital in Shenzhen, China” accessible at:, report more statistically sound differences in disease course related to BMI among 383 patients. Compared with patients of normal weight, overweight patients had an 86% higher risk of developing severe pneumonia, and the risk of those that were obese with 142% higher.

Among the 4,103 patients reported in Petrilli et al’s “Factors associated with hospitalization and critical illness among 4,103 patients with COVID-19 disease in New York City”, high-level obesity (with a BMI over 40) was the second strongest independent predictor of hospitalization, after old age. The full British Medical Journal preprint article can be accessed here:

Although findings on the risks of COVID-19 infection among people with obesity and NCDs remain to be more substantially supported by research, there are indicators that these avoidable conditions predict more negative health outcomes. This further emphasises the importance of addressing the trend of rising NCDs in low- and middle-come countries, with nascent and fragile health systems.


Kate Molesworth, Swiss TPH

30/04/2020 08:32
Leave No One Behind, Inequalities and Social Protection in times of the Coronavirus COVID-19

​Leave No One Behind, Inequalities and SocialProtection in times of the Coronavirus COVID-19

As the coronavirus is spreading across the globe, it seems to expose existing inequalities and to widen social and economic divisions. Please have a look at the special page of the SDC Poverty & Wellbeing website providing reflections on COVID-19 and its effects on the most vulnerable, the poor and people left behind to highlight further dimensions of the health crisis. Read more >>

Photo: Dewald Brand/Miran for Oxfam

21/04/2020 21:32
Economic impacts of COVID-19

​Economic impacts of COVID-19

The global COVID-19 health crisis is now evolving into a socio-economic and human crisis. To prevent an economic recession, governments are under pressure to take roles in securing business continuity and jobs. Global solidarity is needed to address the socio-economic devastation that COVID-19 is causing in all regions.

Official communication

Launch of Report on socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 [United Nations – March 2020]

Shared responsibility, global solidarity: Responding to the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 [United Nations – March 2020]

COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Unprecedented Threat to Development [International Monetary Fund - April 2020]

ILO Monitor: COVID-19 and the world of work. Second edition [ILO - 7 April 2020]

Impact of the coronavirus (COVID 19) on the African Economy [African Union]

Secondary impacts of major disease outbreaks in low- and middle- income countries [K4D – February 2020]


Scientific articles

Economics in the Time of COVID-19 [CEPR - March 2020]

Mitigating the COVID Economic Crisis: Act Fast and Do Whatever It Takes [CEPR – March 2020]

The Global Macroeconomic Impacts of COVID-19: Seven Scenarios [CAMA Working Paper – 2 March 2020]

Feverish Stock Price Reactions to COVID-19 [CEPR Discussion Paper – March 2020]



What we must do to prevent a global COVID-19 depression [World Economic Forum – 13 April 2020]

Global trade will be vital to economic recovery from Covid-19 [The Guardian – 8 April 2020]

The Economic Impact of COVID-19 in Africa: A Round-Up of This Week's Analysis [Center for Global Development – 3 April 2020]

COVID-19 Worldwide: The Pandemic's Impact On The Economy And Markets [Forbes – 8 April 2020]

The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on Developing Countries – Part 2 [Inter Press Service – 6 April 2020]

COVID-19: impact could cause equivalent of 195 million job losses, says ILO chief [UN News – 8 April 2020]

20/04/2020 11:54
​COVID-19 and Food Systems

​COVID-19 and Food Systems

The COVID-19 outbreak poses huge challenges for the global community. ​ While governments are currently focusing on health related responses, this crisis will have big impacts on all areas of society.

Please have a look at the analysis made by the SDC Food Security and Agriculture Network: a special page on COVID and food systems is looking at the impacts, the challenges and the main actions required at in developing countries. Read more >>
14/04/2020 13:28
Covid-19: in search for a vaccine

​Covid-19: in search for a vaccine

About 35 companies and academic institutions are racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine. Moreover, new technologies combined with international cooperation are enabling faster responses to new disease outbreaks, shaving several years from traditional vaccine development timelines. A vaccine could be ready in 12 to 18 months.

Official communication


DRAFT landscape of COVID-19 candidate vaccines [4 April 2020 – WHO]


CEPI's response to COVID-19

GAVI The Vaccine Alliance


Scientific articles

Progress and Prospects on Vaccine Development Against SARS-CoV-2 [29 March 2020 – Vaccines]

Current Status of Epidemiology, Diagnosis, Therapeutics, and Vaccines for Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) [28 March 2020 – Journal of microbiology and biotechnology]

Potential Rapid Diagnostics, Vaccine and Therapeutics for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): A Systematic Review [26 Februar 2020 – Journal of Clinical Medicine]



Coronavirus vaccine: when will it be ready? [6 April 2020 - The Guardian]

Why a coronavirus vaccine takes over a year to produce – and why that is incredibly fast [3 April 2020 – World Economic Forum]

COVID-19 vaccine candidate shows promise in first peer-reviewed research [2 April 2020 – University of Pittsburgh]

The global hunt for a coronavirus drug [26 March 2020 - Financial Times]

Coronavirus Drugs, Vaccine Are Many Months Away, Health Experts Say [24 March 2020 - Wall Street Journal]

When might experimental drugs to treat Covid-19 be ready? A forecast [24 March 2020 – STAT]

The coronavirus isn't mutating quickly, suggesting a vaccine would offer lasting protection [24 March 2020 - Washington Post]

Who is leading the race to develop the coronavirus vaccine? [22 March 2020 - Jerusalem Post]

Two generic drugs being tested in U.S. in race to find coronavirus treatments [19 March 2020 – Reuters]

Experimental drug holds promise for treating the coronavirus [19 March 2020 – NBC]

How long will we have to wait for a coronavirus vaccine? [18 March 2020 - The Telegraph]

09/04/2020 10:05
Covid & mental health: how to deal with self-isolation?

​Covid & mental health: how to deal with self-isolation?

The coronavirus crisis and the restrictive measures implemented can have negative impact on people's mental health. Difficulty concentrating, low motivation and state of distraction are normal responses to the abnormal situation. Maintain connections, eat and sleep well and exercise as much as possible are some advices to adapt and to help managing anxiety.


Official communication

Mental health and psychological resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic [WHO - 27 March 2020]

How to protect your family's mental health in the face of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

[UNICEF - 26 March 2020]



WHO warning on lockdown mental health [27 March 2020]


Seven tips to manage your mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak [26 March 2020]

Experts explain how to manage mental wellbeing during COVID-19 [1 April 2020]

COVID-19 and how to manage your mental health [27 March 2020]


Scientific articles

Public Mental Health Crisis During COVID-19 Pandemic, China [23 March 2020]

Mental health considerations for children quarantined because of COVID-19 [27 March 2020]

Mental Health in the Covid-19 Pandemic [30 March 2020]

06/04/2020 09:51
Social distancing puts space between people02/04/2020 15:51
COVID-19: Too little too late? What next?

​COVID-19: Too little too late? What next?

WHO's website today (12 March, 2020) states that almost 125,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported from 118 countries. Furthermore, over the last two weeks the number of cases reported to WHO from outside China has increased almost 13-fold with a tripling in the number of countries with confirmed infections. Dr Tedros stated that in spite of WHO's repeated warnings, some countries are still not approaching the COVID-19 threat with an adequate level of political commitment to control it.

He stated that commitment is needed to implement essential public health measures to avoid exacerbating the pandemic, which will place a greater burden on health systems that will require further austere measures to control. In terms of action, he called for nations to strike a fine balance between protecting health, preventing economic and social disruption, and respecting human rights, through a four-pronged strategy, encompassing:

  1. Preparedness, especially in countries with zero, or a low number of cases;
  2. Detection to support prevention of transmission and early treatment;
  3. Reduction and suppression by isolating identified cases and quarantining their close contacts;
  4. Innovation and improvement of knowledge on this novel virus, together with sharing lessons learned.

The Director General's full opening remarks made yesterday at the Mission Briefing on COVID-19 can be accessed here:

The current Lancet Editorial "Too little too late?" ( comments on gap between the shock of European leaders at the extreme and rapidly unfolding impact of the COVID-19 outbreak in northern Italy with their lack of decisive action. As the window for global containment closes, health ministers are scrambling to implement measures to delay transmission after slow and inadequate measures to contain the epidemic. This is in contrast to the findings set out in the Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 ( which calls China's vigorous public health measures the most "ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history". Although there have been severe effects on the nation's economy, China appears to have avoided a substantial number of cases and fatalities. In its report on the joint mission, WHO recommends that countries immediately activate the highest level of national response management protocols to ensure that the "all-of-government" and "all-of-society" approaches are taken to contain viral transmission. China's successful approach is considered to be the result of strong leadership in mobilising responses to the threats posed by the virus, combined with the compliance of the Chinese people with stringent public health policy.

While there is a time lag in research on COVID-19, the current edition of the Lancet examines China's control measures during mass population movements for the holiday at the Lunar New Year and crystallises some lessons learned. The article by Chan et al, that can be accessed here, dissects government controls at the early stages of the pandemic, when five million people left Wuhan, the city at the epicentre of the epidemic, before the start of the travel ban imposed on Jan 23, 2020. The article takes the position that government policies enacted during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday are likely to have contributed to reducing transmission by decreasing interpersonal contact and increasing physical distance between infected and non-infected individuals.

Successful elements of government social distancing policies are regarded to include: encouragement of people staying at home; discouragement of mass gatherings; cancellation or postponement of large public events; closure of schools, universities, government offices, factories and public spaces such as libraries and museums. Furthermore, the temporary closures that are regarded to have reduced transmission from infected, but non-symptomatic individuals, took place within the cultural frame of an extended New Year holiday. Aligned with these social distancing measures, the government closed all cross-province bus routes and only limited segments of urban public transport systems remained operational. As a result of these policies in concert with public information and education campaigns, Chinese citizens complied in taking action to protect themselves by staying at home as far as possible, limiting social contacts, and wearing protective masks supplied through social marketing when they needed to move in public.

It only remains for other governments to take up the lessons learned China's experience before the window of opportunity is fully closed.


Kate Molesworth, Swiss TPH

12/03/2020 16:26
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