The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), has called on countries across the globe to strengthen their social protection programmes, in order to protect the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable persons. The UN organisation has projected that the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic would cause an increase in the number of death amongst persons with HIV, Tuberculosis and malaria in the next five years.
Also, hundreds of millions of persons globally, have been projected to lose their jobs this year, besides the 150 million full time jobs already lost in the first quarter of the year, while more than 265 million persons already afflicted by conflict, economic or climate crises, were at risk of acute food insecurity by the end of 2020. Executive Director UNAIDS, Winnie Byanyima, disclosed that majority of vulnerable persons, who would be most affected were excluded from existing social protection programmes.
In her words: “UNAIDS is calling on countries to adopt urgent measures to reinforce social protection programmes to shield the most vulnerable people from the health impact and socioeconomic fall-out of the COVID- 19 pandemic. “Countries must ensure that everyone is able to receive essential services, including healthcare and they must invest adequately in social protection programmes to keep people safe and to shield them from the consequences of losing their livelihoods.”