Our Response to the
COVID-19 Outbreak

 

What we’re doing to protect children and their families to prevent the spread of the virus

As Canadians, we’ve all felt the impact of the restrictions on our day-to-day life as the novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) spreads around the globe. Here at World Vision, we are continuing to serve vulnerable children, families and communities in the midst of the crisis.

With so much happening so quickly around the world, it can be difficult to know how you can make a difference. By supporting World Vision’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can help strengthen health systems and support children and their families by providing things like life-saving essentials, protective equipment and more.

 

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Three World Vision staffers, wearing surgical masks, coordinate the distribution of food and hygiene supplies from the flatbed of a truck.

A global crisis requires global support

COVID-19 could have a devastating impact on refugees, migrants and the very poor. We’re working with our communities on the ground to support children and their families and calling on governments to join a unified global effort to protect the most vulnerable.
 
At the same time, we’re applying our experience and expertise to ensure the safety of our Canadian and international teams so that our work can continue. Learn more about how we’re scaling up our prevention and response work around the world to address COVID-19.

We are committed to doing our part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Our Office
As an organization, we fully support the recommendations from Canadian and international health authorities, the Public Health Agency of Canada and the World Health Organization. Following the Government of Ontario’s announcement of the closure of all non-essential workplaces, our office is now fully closed to both staff and the public. World Vision Canada staff are working remotely to ensure that our response to COVID-19, as well as our work around the world, continues.

Fundraising Programs
The safety of our staff and supporters remains our top priority. As a result, we have temporarily suspended door-to-door canvassing, fundraising activities in malls, as well as our artist and church-related events.

Gift Catalogue
Due to our temporary office closure, Gift Catalogue greeting cards, artisan gifts and apparel, and Giving Cards will not be mailed out until our office re-opens. While our office is closed, we recommend selecting the e-card delivery method for greeting cards and Giving Cards.

These are uncertain and unprecedented times, and your ongoing support is invaluable. Thank you for continuing to partner with us as we protect and empower vulnerable children and families around the globe.

World Vision is a key participant in the global response to this crisis. We are active on the ground, drawing on our experience responding to past disease outbreaks like Ebola outbreaks in West Africa (2014) and the DR Congo (2019), and Zika (2016) in Latin America. 

During those outbreaks, World Vision worked with local health authorities and our network of more than 220,000 community health workers to provide assessment and health education, combat rumours and misinformation, and help protect children and their families affected by the disease.

We’re now applying our expertise to the COVID-19 pandemic in three ways, depending on local needs:

1. Promoting preventive measures to slow the spread of disease
This is done through encouraging handwashing, sanitation and when appropriate, isolation. We’re also helping to set up public handwashing stations and distributing soap, sanitizer and masks where appropriate. 

2. Supporting health systems and workers
We’re providing health centres with medical equipment and personal protective gear, such as masks, gowns and gloves. In addition, community health workers are being trained to assist with home care. 

3. Caring for children and families impacted by COVID-19
We’re ensuring schools implement safe operations, helping to run isolation centres and support transportation for those who are sick or in need of supplies. Social workers are available to provide psychological support and care packs for those in isolation.

The coronavirus outbreak can have a severe impact on the poorest and most vulnerable. It poses a significant risk to global efforts and progress to defeat poverty. 

Our Child Sponsorship program empowers communities to support vulnerable children and their families through sustainable approaches. We employ local staff members and volunteers, who usually live within or close to the communities where they work. They are seen as friends, confidants, encouragers and trustworthy partners. In response to the COVID-19, they are supporting communities by:

1. Amplifying public health messaging
Working with local communities to amplify prevention and control messages while supporting the protection of children.

2. Supporting education initiatives
Assisting with home learning, if schools are closed, by providing study materials and recommendations for activities.

3. Promoting child well-being
Preventing the separation or stigmatization of children during treatment and isolation.

4. Helping families as needed
Providing emotional support and delivering livelihood activities and cash, food and care packs to people in isolation. 

World Vision is calling on the Government of Canada to be part of a global response that prioritizes countries facing conflict, natural disasters or severe shortages in health care. 
 
Countries with effective health systems are better prepared to monitor, identify and treat those with coronavirus; for example, they typically have around 2-12 hospital beds per 1000 people. However, the poorest countries which face the greatest risk of contagion and infection during a pandemic have as few as one bed per 10,000. 
 
We are also considering the unique impacts that the pandemic could have on the world's most vulnerable children and their families, many of them who are already dealing with complex issues like conflict, drought and disease. Countries already hosting high numbers of displaced people and refugees or where there is a severe lack of doctors, nurses, community health workers and hospitals will need special and urgent assistance. Combined with supporting grassroots prevention programs, we are working to help stop the spread of the virus before it takes hold in the most at-risk communities.
 
We invite you to join with other Canadians in advocating for those at risk of being pushed further into vulnerability by the spread of COVID-19.

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Stories for You

Coronavirus crisis: Helping stop the COVID-19 outbreak COVID-19, or coronavirus disease, has been topping headlines as more than 1,363,123 people and counting have been infected worldwide, with more than 76,383 causalities (as of April 7). Learn more about how World Vision is responding to the crisis.
COVID-19 in South Sudan: Preparing for the worst, praying for the best In South Sudan, World Vision staff are working hard to help families prepare and protect themselves from COVID 19. 
Why the COVID-19 pandemic will be catastrophic for refugees Global aid groups are growing increasingly concerned that the novel coronavirus could decimate some of the world’s most vulnerable populations. 


Frequently Asked Questions

We are responding in every country where we work, in one form or another. Our response to the most vulnerable people is centred on 17 countries, where we’re focused on prevention of transmission, supporting health responses and caring for children made vulnerable by this crisis. 
Although the coronavirus is present in places where World Vision has existing development projects, we are grateful that that all children in our programming areas are safe with no known cases of the virus. We are working closely with our program staff around the world to keep children safe.

Countries with effective health systems are in a much better place to monitor, identify and treat those with the coronavirus, as well as to prevent its spread. We are most concerned about countries where the health systems and monitoring are weak, with high refugee or displaced persons populations, where people may already suffer with diseases which are common among the poor (such as malaria, TB, pneumonia, HIV/AIDS and Ebola), where conflict exists, or where immune systems are compromised by severe malnutrition. People living in any of these contexts are at greater risk of spread and infection during a pandemic.

While our office in Mississauga is currently closed to the public, our staff in Canada continue with day-to-day operations. We are closely monitoring the situation here at home and around the world, as the situation changes daily.  We are led by government and local public health guidance, which includes travel and quarantine guidance.