COVID-19: PAHO Urges Social Safety Nets To Help Vulnerable People

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The Pan American Health Organization’s Director, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, is urging governments to provide social safety nets to help people cope with the fallout of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Etienne says one lesson from the pandemic is that it’s not enough for communities to come together.

“Individuals facing difficulties should not have to rely on the kindness and good will of their neighbors just to survive. Health and well-being for everyone can only be achieved when governments provide a safety net, ” she asserted in a message to mark Wellness Week.

This year’s Wellness Week recognises the pandemic-induced deterioration of conditions for people in situations of vulnerability in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), poverty rose to levels not seen in 12 years in 2020, and extreme poverty reached levels not seen in 20 years, worsening the already severe divide between rich and poor in the region.

Dr. Etienne emphasised that implementing meaningful social support measures to protect people is the only way to move toward greater equity in health and well-being.

She made specific mention of  migrants, those living in poverty, workers in the informal sector, the majority of whom are women, those in precarious working conditions or residences of crowded housing, and those living in other conditions of vulnerability.

The PAHO Director also called attention to solidarity within communities, such as through the establishment of soup kitchens throughout the region, as proving to be vital to helping people cope with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would like to take this opportunity to honour all of those persons among us who have come together in the spirt of solidarity to support their communities to face the hardships generated by this pandemic,” she said.

Headline photo: Internet stock image

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

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