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5 Efforts Toward Reduction of COVID-19 Effects in Developing CountriesSince the end of 2019, the spread and containment of the novel coronavirus have been on many people’s minds. Throughout the pandemic, it has become clear that money and access to the resources necessary to combat this virus are a privilege that not all countries can afford. However, the needs of impoverished countries in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic have not gone unheard. Various foundations, organizations and governmental leaders from developed countries have made efforts to combat the effects of  COVID-19 in populations that need assistance the most. Here are five COVID-19 relief efforts in developing countries.

5 COVID-19 Efforts in Developing Countries

  1. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has long fought against global poverty by making healthcare and education accessible to those in need. This foundation has responded to the global health crisis by donating approximately $2 billion to combat the novel coronavirus worldwide. The money that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated is used for a variety of measures to combat the pandemic and its effects. Support for the endeavor of creating accurate tools to diagnose individuals with the virus within populations is one such measure. Another is the support of healthcare systems within developing countries with medical resources and front-line working personnel. A third measure is an increase in the availability of digital learning technologies within countries that are suffering further due to a lack of educational resources. The creation of a COVID-19 vaccine was also supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  2. Developing nations have come together to assist developing countries struggling with the pandemic’s secondary effects through the G20 Debt Pact. G20 countries created a debt pact in which it was agreed to write off debts that developing countries owed. Due to the expenses of the pandemic, many nations are struggling to repay debts to developed countries. This pact eased the financial burden of countries already suffering from the novel coronavirus.
  3. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is an organization that works to vaccinate populations in developing countries with limited medical resource access. As the novel coronavirus has become a present worldly concern, Gavi has recently been working to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to countries without the necessary resources to purchase vaccine doses independently. Developed countries have thus far obtained the majority of vaccines produced as a result of a monetary advantage. Gavi has urged that the vaccine be more widely distributed as the pandemic will not cease if vaccines are only available in select areas of the world. Its hope is that, by the end of 2021, efforts will allow one billion vaccines to be available to the vulnerable in developing countries.
  4. The Papal Foundation is a Catholic-based organization working to offer a helping hand to global communities. Part of the mission of the foundation is to assist those who are most vulnerable in the world, regardless of age. This foundation has fulfilled its mission with respect to COVID-19 reduction by donating $1.8 million to the impoverished in the face of this pandemic. Overall, this money goes toward providing individuals in impoverished countries with basic needs and care, as the pandemic has made resources like food and hygienic materials scarce for many.
  5. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) found that increased COVID-19 testing can be one of the most effective ways for impoverished countries to fight the effects of this pandemic. Increased testing allows for fewer lockdown measures put into place, which can greatly help the economies of these countries. Rapid tests are an inexpensive and effective way of testing mass amounts of people. Moreover, increased testing can help COVID-19 relief efforts by both decreasing the spread of COVID-19 in impoverished countries and increasing desperately needed funds and resources.

The needs of individuals in impoverished countries are still drastic, as many of the economies and medical systems remain underdeveloped amid COVID-19. While the effects of COVID-19 have hit developing countries harder than in other areas of the world, these COVID-19 relief efforts, along with many others, have made a positive impact in combating the virus and its secondary effects.

– Olivia Bay
Photo: Flickr

USAID in Venezuela, Strengthening Local EconomiesUSAID in Venezuela aims to be a catalyst for the international response to aid impoverished communities in Venezuela. It provides more than $200 million to diminish the humanitarian crisis triggered by Nicolás Maduro’s regime. Eradicating poverty is not only a national but an international affair. The decline of democracy in Venezuela can also be seen as a consequence of the increase in national poverty. As such, USAID in Venezuela is also a matter of national security and economic stability.

United States’ Response to the Crisis

According to the Department of State, the United States is the largest donor responding to the Venezuelan crisis, with over $856 million in total assistance. However, helping does not only mean providing aid for Venezuelans living in their country. The United States also offers support for those who fled to nearby countries. The aid covers 16 Latin American nations, such as Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and Chile.

What USAID Covers in Venezuela

  1. Food: Hot meals and water.
  2. Sanitation: The organization provides hygiene and health for the affected population.
  3. Temporary shelter
  4. Educational services
  5. Protection for vulnerable children

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USAID began to prioritize life-saving humanitarian assistance in Venezuela. This includes basic healthcare, providing access to medicine and supplies, training healthcare workers and combating other infectious diseases like Malaria.

USAID in Venezuela, Strengthening National Security and Economy

In Maduro’s regime, U.S. efforts to sustain the Venezuelan people externalize a political decision to disapprove Maduro’s resolutions as a leader.

“We do this because our National Security Strategy prioritizes the reduction of human suffering and doing our part to respond to crisis situations make Americans safer at home,” argues the U.S. Department of State. Moreover, foreign aid triggers a better political understanding between nations.

On the other hand, a lack of governance and extreme poverty create economic conflict between countries. In January 2021, Maduro announced that the country had received 98.6% less income than 2013, the year that he took office. As unemployment and hunger grew, other nations imposed sanctions on Maduro’s government. The latter has had a domino effect on Americans as the Venezuelan government was unable to pay their debts to Americans who invested in foreign debt.

Foreign aid is not merely an external investment but a strategic and mutually beneficial deal. Nations all over the world depend on each other to safeguard their people’s basic needs. When a nation suffers, the global community is affected. By strengthening local economies, USAID in Venezuela steadily continues to alleviate poverty and protect vulnerable groups.

– Paola Arriaza Avilés
Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About COVID-19 in Impoverished NationsThe COVID-19 pandemic is affecting countries worldwide, but it has created an additional burden for impoverished nations. The novel coronavirus is creating new concerns for vulnerable communities and is making current issues much worse. Here are 10 facts about COVID-19 in impoverished nations.

10 Facts About COVID-19 in Impoverished Nations

  1. The global poverty rate is projected to increase due to COVID-19. Globally, 71 million people are going to be forced into extreme poverty because of the effects of the novel coronavirus. This is a 0.59% increase in extreme global poverty and the first increase since 1998.
  2. Only 0.01% of people in low-income nations have been tested for COVID-19. In contrast, high-income countries have a test rate of 5.2% and upper-middle-income countries at 2.2%. Due to the lack of healthcare funding and infrastructure, low-income nations cannot meet the high demand for testing. With little access to testing, people in lower-income nations are at a much higher risk of complications with COVID-19 going undetected.
  3. More people in low-income nations are experiencing an income decrease than high-income nations. According to a poll by BBC World Service, 69% of people in poor countries received a pay decrease while 45% of people in high-income countries reported a pay decrease. More specifically, 91% of people in Kenya, 81% in Thailand, 80% in Nigeria, 77% in South Africa, 76% in Indonesia and 74% in Vietnam reported negative financial effects due to COVID-19.
  4. Developing countries may not get the number of vaccines needed to vaccinate the population. The United States, Japan and the European Union pre-purchased a minimum of 3.7 billion COVID-19 vaccines. Developing nations do not have the funds to purchase these vaccines. However, with $5.4 billion, impoverished nations will have sufficient vaccines for their people. The international community has only given $1 billion to this cause, meaning only 10% of people in low-income nations will get a COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. The number of food-insecure people will double this year because of COVID-19. This means 265 million more people are going to have food insecurity by the end of this year because of the novel coronavirus.
  6. Millions of children do not have access to education due to COVID-19. Half of the students in sub-Saharan Africa have not had access to education since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, about 1% of students in the most impoverished countries have access to the internet for remote learning. As a result, the poverty cycle will continue in developing nations because children do not have access to education.
  7. COVID-19 is causing more conflicts in developing countries. Many conflicts have arisen in developing countries. Riots over food shortages, extremists using COVID-19 to gain control and violent protests against governments are just some conflicts happening because of COVID-19.
  8. Low-income nations do not have enough supplies to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Impoverished communities lack masks, hospital beds, ventilators and other necessary supplies to treat and prevent COVID-19. Lack of healthcare funding causes low-income nations to not have enough hospital beds. Also, the high demand in high-income nations causes masks, testing kits and other supplies to be sent there first, thus leaving developing nations behind.
  9. Death tolls for COVID-19 in developing nations may be much higher than reported. The vast amount of people who live in remote areas in developing countries causes a lack of reported deaths. Hospitals are few in low-income nations, so many people die at home and are buried in remote areas without being recorded.
  10. Of $4.4 billion dedicated to a COVID-19 response by U.S. Congress, only 0.1% is being used for an international response. More monetary funding for developing nations could help these countries get COVID-19 prevention and treatment supplies. Also, funding could help low-income nations feed vulnerable groups.

COVID-19 is yet another barrier to ending global poverty and will be a struggle for impoverished nations to recover from. With the help of the international community, low-income nations may recover from COVID-19 and its secondary effects sooner.

—Hannah Drzewiecki
Photo: Flickr


The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a country located in Central Africa and home to 84.07 million people. About 72% of the population live on less than $2 a day, making the DRC one of the world’s poorest countries. Because many live in extreme poverty, the community is vulnerable to diseases and suffers greatly, especially children. Here are five facts to know about children living in the DRC.

5 Facts About Children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

  1. Disease: Though life for children in the DRC has dramatically improved over the years, there is still much more work to be done. The child mortality rate for children under the age of five is 88.1 deaths per 1,000 live births. Diseases are the most persistent threat to children, with thousands dying from numerous ongoing epidemics a year. Primary illnesses children in the DRC face include measles, cholera and malaria. Measles, being the most severe disease, killed over 6,000 children in 2019. Around 85% of these deaths were children under the age of 5. Now, COVID-19 poses a significant challenge for the DRC as it is one of the most at-risk countries in Africa. Additionally, the global pandemic has hampered vaccine deliveries to the DRC, causing children’s lives to be more at stake than ever.
  2. Malnutrition: More than six million children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition. Without proper nutrition, around 46% of children in the DRC are stunted in growth and development. Moreover, the pandemic will likely lead to a rise in food costs worldwide, causing impoverished countries like the DRC, which already suffers from a lack of resources and economic stability, to become food insecure. If food becomes more expensive, the already high malnutrition rates will also reach a tragic tipping point.
  3. Education: Education is the key to a better future away from poverty. It is also a critical factor in improving health practices, essential services and the DRC’s overall socio-economic status. Unfortunately, almost seven million children from ages 5 to 17 do not go to school or have any proper education. Because of political instability caused by wars and natural disasters, the DRC is currently unable to have universal primary education. Money is also a significant obstacle to receiving education since much of a child’s education costs falls on the parents. Those who can attend school also find high dropout rates, as there is a low quality of teaching. Factors such as child labor, marriage and health conditions also contribute to children’s lack of access to education.
  4. Homelessness: Homelessness is also a big issue for children in the DRC. Almost 30,000 children under the age of 18 suffered from homelessness in 2011. There are many reasons for homelessness, such as war-conflict, diseases, unemployment and internal displacement. Often, mothers who have children from sexual abuse abandon their children due to trauma. With no proper child protection institutions in the DRC, children have no choice but to live on the street. Due to the lack of a support system, many children are forced into illegal acts to obtain access to food, shelter and other basic amenities.
  5. Violence: The DRC has one of the highest ratings in terms of violence against children, especially sexual violence. In 2018, over 250 girls were sexually abused during inter-communal disputes. One in two women between the ages of 25 and 49 are affected by forced child marriages, often resulting in teenage pregnancies. About 27% of girls between the ages of 15 to 19 are pregnant, securing the DRC a spot in the top 10 countries with the highest levels of teen pregnancies. In 2017, over 800,000 children in the DRC were forced to leave because of the vicious internal conflict, which in result forced them to live in brutal weather conditions and safety hazards. Child soldiers are also not uncommon in the DRC. In 2018, over 600 cases of child recruitments were documented by the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children of Armed Conflict.

Despite all that DRC children suffer from, conditions have been improving drastically over the last few years. With help from donors and organizations, there is high hope that the safety, health and standard of living will only continue to improve for children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Katelyn Mendez
Photo: Pixabay

Burden of COVIDThe most recent pandemic has wreaked havoc on countries all over the world and has stagnated, or even reversed progress in many developing communities. While officials have been trying to reduce the number of cases worldwide, there have also been many tech developments that help alleviate the burden of COVID-19. Various apps and websites allow us to spread information, contact-trace and even enforce quarantine.

6 Ways Technology Helps Alleviate the Burden of COVID-19

  1. Afghanistan- Without proper guidance, misinformation can spread like wildfire and can be deadly. For this reason, the Ministry of Public Health joined forces with the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology to create software that provides health information to Afghani citizens. Corona.asan.gov.af translates virus updates and information into three different languages, making it easily accessible for all people.
  2. Bulgaria- Local IT developers created a free app that connects citizens to health authorities to help ease the burden of COVID-19. Users verify their identity and can input various symptoms they are experiencing. A doctor will then review their symptoms and decide whether or not to send the patient to the closest medical facility for treatment. In addition to this, the app also can predict the future growth and spread of the virus. The developers are also willing to sell the software to other countries for a symbolic one euro.
  3. Germany- A Berlin-based tech startup created an initiative that would work on Android devices in developing countries throughout South America and North Africa. The project, called #AppsFightCovid would display health information on popup ads that already exist on different apps. The ads take info from the WHO website and advocate for frequent hand washing and wearing a mask in public. Because of these efforts, underdeveloped communities now have access to important COVID-19 information.
  4. Mexico- The Mexico City government created a screening service that determines how likely a user is to contract the coronavirus. The website also features a map that displays the closest hospitals and how much space is available in each of them. People can also filter the map based on whether they need a general care bed or a ventilator bed. In addition, users can input their symptoms and determine whether or not they require hospitalization. This helps alleviate the burden of COVID by reducing the number of unnecessary hospital patients during a global pandemic.
  5. United Nations- It is extremely difficult to get access to personal protective equipment and accurate information, especially for developing countries. Because of this, the U.N. partnered with the WHO and launched the Tech Access Partnership or TAP. This initiative helps reduce the burden of COVID by connecting expert manufacturers with developing manufacturers in poorer countries all over the world to share resources, knowledge and technical expertise. TAP will also aid countries in creating affordable and safe technology.
  6. Argentina- In hopes of reducing the number of coronavirus cases, a company is looking into enforcing quarantining and social distancing through a tracking app, though it is not yet operational. This would be a way to prevent the spread of COVID since the app would send an alert each time a person leaves their home. In addition, the Argentinian Ministry of Health created an application that allows people to evaluate their symptoms and see whether or not they require hospitalization.

 

Though the novel coronavirus has thrown us all for a whirlwind, many countries are doing their part to alleviate the burden of COVID by using technology. Whether it is through self-assessing symptoms, tracking hospitals or enforcing quarantine, government officials everywhere are trying to flatten the curve through the use of technology.

– Karin Filipova
Photo: Unsplash


Amid the widespread pandemic, nations worldwide have been operating under similar prevention measures to combat COVID-19. Yet, some are more effective than others, and the results are clear. From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ghana showed how it is collectivistic and holds personal responsibility for its citizens. On March 16, Ghana began to lockdown non-essential businesses and schools to prevent an outbreak as COVID-19 reached the nation.  As of June 4, 2020, Ghana confirmed 8,297 cases and 38 deaths. In the process of easing restrictions, Ghana allowed communities to reopen schools and universities on June 5 with social distancing guidelines. Here are seven ways Ghana is minimizing COVID-19 cases and is rearing up reopen.

7 Ways Ghana is Minimizing COVID-19 Cases

  1. On March 16, Ghana banned public gatherings altogether. The government also implemented travel restrictions to prevent any further spread of COVID-19. Ghanaian residents who traveled outside the country were required to quarantine for 14 days. All schools and universities were also closed indefinitely.
  2. On March 23, Ghana shut down all borders to travelers. This measure kept tourists from other countries from bringing the virus into the nation and allowed Ghana to focus on the infected citizens at hand. The border closures also assured COVID-19 did not spread from Ghana to other countries. By closing its borders, Ghana was able to determine diagnosed cases and isolate them from other populations.
  3. On April 2, Ghana received a donation from the World Bank to support its short-term and long-term responses to COVID-19. The overall contribution amounted to $100 million. Of this donation, $35 million was used for emergency improvements to the nation’s healthcare systems that they have in place for pandemics.
  4. The Ghana Emergency Preparedness and Response Project (EPRP)  launched through the World Bank’s provisions. The EPRP will be the blueprint for developing technologies that detect and survey COVID-19. Additionally, EPRP will cover outbreak reports to keep essential information streamlined. The initiative provides free support for COVID-19 patients who cannot afford medical or social care. The project will work to raise awareness on COVID-19 prevention measures and safety guidelines for any future outbreaks.
  5. As of April 13, Ghana administered approximately 44,000 tests for the COVID-19 virus. The comprehensive testing put Ghana significantly ahead of the curve. Making sure the majority of citizens tested for the coronavirus was how Ghana was able to obtain an accurate number of COVID-19 cases and quarantined as needed.
  6. In early April, the president announced a 50% salary increase for any healthcare workers on the front line. Nana Akufo-Addo, the present of Ghana, also told the public early on in the pandemic that Ghana would be tax-free for at least three months. Free water was also promised and supplied to anyone in need of it while on lockdown.
  7. Urban areas within metropolitan cities like Accra shut down late March to prevent any further spread of the virus through public transit. The Ghanian government kickstarted an awareness campaign to encourage social distancing and constant sanitation, such as washing your hands, to prevent viral transmissions. Wearing masks when going out for essential supplies was also highly emphasized in the campaign.

While countries worldwide are following similar prevention measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, Ghana, among other nations, was able to reopen earlier than expected. Ghana is minimizing COVID-19 cases and can reopen because of citizens’ and health workers’ commitment to implemented prevention measures. The Ghanaian government has also worked diligently to raise awareness and create proper prevention measures for rural and metropolitan areas alike. Ghanian citizens are provided with clean water, medical treatment and free counseling services to ensure social distancing measures are followed, and citizens remain healthy amid the unexpended circumstances. Due to its early lockdown and comprehensive testing, Ghana continues to lessen its COVID-19 cases and is heading toward a promising future.

Kim Elsey
Photo: Flickr