On 21 March, the Ministry of Health of Angola announced its first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. As of 21 June, Angola and Cuanza Norte are the only provinces which have recorded confirmed cases of COVID-19. Government declared a state of emergency on 26 May, prolonged subsequently for periods of two-weeks as long as the risk of COVID19 pandemic remains high in the country.
UNICEF Angola has developed and is implementing a response plan that is aligned with the 2020 WHO Global Strategic Humanitarian Response Plan (SRP), Country preparedness and Response Plans, and the 2020 UNICEF COVID-19 Humanitarian Action for Children appeal.
ACO response interventions to COVID-19 are focusing on (i) coordination; (ii) risk communication and community engagement—RCCE; (iii) infection prevention and control—WASH; (iv) continuity of health and nutrition care; (v) continuous access to services (education and child protection); and (vi) social policy (cash transfer and social services referral). The plan is targeting 713,1331 people to benefit from infection prevention and control, continuity of healthcare service delivery, including nutrition, access to continuous education and child protection and social protection (cash transfer and social services referral).
In addition, the RCCE component is targeting up to 27 percent of the country’s entire population of Angola or 8 million people with risk communication and community engagement. In the last fortnight, ACO has completed the following interventions:
Programmatically, ACO COVID-19 interventions include the following:
▪ UNICEF in partnership with the National Institute against HIV/AIDS (INLS) conducted a fact-finding visit to 4 community-based organizations in the District of Viana that supports approximately 50 vulnerable children, including 19 living with HIV. UNICEF is working on a package of emergency assistance to support these children during COVID-19 pandemic.
▪ UNICEF provided technical support to the National Directorate of Public Health (DNSP) to organize the integrated supervision to 40 health units of Luanda province related to continuing routine SRMNAH services to be provided during the COVID-19 pandemic from June onwards.
▪ UNICEF provided technical support to DNSP to develop the distribution plan of SRMNAH essential medicines and materials for health facilities as part of the COVID-19 response, and HIV and COVID-19 IEC materials for the National Institute against HIV/AIDS.
▪ UNICEF procured and delivered lifesaving nutrition supplies (2,000 boxes of RUTF) to nine in-patient treatment facilities in Luanda province to ensure continuity of nutrition treatment targeting about 2,000 SAM children 6-59 months in most affected settings of COVID-19.
▪ UNICEF nutrition team trained remotely 122 nutrition and health workers from six provinces that were most affected by drought, namely Cunene, Huila, Namibe, Cuando Cubango and Bié, and COVID-affected Luanda province. These trainings were on simplified protocols for SAM management in the context of COVID-19; continuity of IYCF counselling services; and vitamin A supplementation at community and health facility level.
▪ UNICEF provided technical assistance to develop three guidance notes on simplified protocols for management of severe acute malnutrition; counselling on Infant and Young Child Feeding; and Vitamin A supplementation in the context of COVID-19. These guidelines were officially endorsed by the Minister of Health and disseminated to the 18 provincial nutrition focal points by the nutrition department of the Ministry of Health.
▪ UNICEF is currently piloting a remote nutrition information collection system using Kobo Collect to monitor nutrition-related interventions in the COVID-19 context, which will allow for near real-time reporting data to the National Health Information System agreed with MOH and implementing partners.
▪ MUAC measurement tapes were procured to be used during pilot rollout of mother-led MUAC approach in Huila, Cunene and Bié provinces targeting 3,000 caregivers.
▪ UNICEF provided technical support to the Ministry of Education (MOE) to draft WASH guidance for return-toschool during COVID-19. The draft was shared with partners (MED, World Bank, MINEA, MINSA).
▪ UNICEF is providing continuous technical and logistic support to COVID-19 response implementing partners (IPs).
Implementation of integrated WASH/Nutrition CLTS/COVID-19 activities are ongoing. Priority beneficiaries include women, especially heads of households, the elderly, and women with disabilities.
▪ Among the 169 villages targeted by the ongoing CLTS project in Angola, 31 have benefitted from COVID-19 WASH awareness information sessions. In total 24,847 people have been reached through this intervention including 1,553 boys and 1,869 girls.
▪ Additional WASH supplies are arriving in country by the end of June to be distributed in targeted provinces as part of the ongoing COVID-19 response.
▪ ACO has propositioned 5,000 learner kits in Huila province and 5,000 kits in Cunene province to distribute to students from remote communities together with information materials on COVID-19, and ordered another 30,000 learner kits, 40 tents and 50 recreational kits to increase the number of beneficiaries;
▪ Technical guidance provided from the Education and WASH sections to inform the Ministry’s decision to reopen schools in mid-July 2020
▪ Key messages developed for parents in 4 areas: (1) COVID-19 risk communication; (2) conflict resolution, violence mitigation and child protection; (3) stress management and positive discipline; (4) support for students’ homebased learning;
▪ Establishment of a RapidPro workspace for the Ministry of Education to begin disseminating coronavirus-related SMS and to monitor the sector response
▪ Drafting the Ministry of Education’s COVID-19 response M&E framework, including proposed indicators;
▪ More than 1,080,000 people reached with messages on Violence against Children and responsible fatherhood, linked with the COVID-19 context through radio spots on the National Radio of Angola
▪ 30,107 people reached and 2,298 engaged through COVID-19 related messages on UNICEF social media platforms.
The messages were mainly on the African Children’s Day, hand washing, UNICEF supporting vulnerable families in times of COVID-19, impact of COVID-19 on children’s wellbeing, children’s coping with movement restrictions, and the continuation of birth registration service
▪ UNICEF supported the development of social media cards on talking to children about COVID-19 with patience and without provoking fear that will be disseminated through UNICEF, MoH and Government of Luanda’s social media pages with a total potential reach of 189,000 people
▪ UNICEF deployed 16 car speakers in 9 areas in Luanda targeting 500,000 individuals with COVID-19 key messages
▪ COVID-19 key messages have also been integrated into the agreement with ADRA and World Vision (CERF) on Nutrition, Hygiene, Child Protection and Education targeting 40,000 people in selected municipalities in Cunene and Huila
▪ Support to National Institute for Children (INAC) for development and implementation of child protection SOPs for emergency shelters and a CP referral mechanism which details each sectors’ responsibility to ensure a child friendly and gender-sensitive approach, with focus on prevention of family separation and strengthening of mechanisms for family tracing and reunification;
▪ Support to INAC for implementation of a national hotline for reporting violence against children, SOS Crianca, launched on June 16, and training of frontline service providers;
▪ Partnership with civil society organizations to mainstream psychosocial support and prevention of GBV in emergency shelters;
▪ Following the phase 1 remote training sessions for CASIs in the three APROSOC provinces (Bié, Uíge and Moxico) provided by ACO – MASFAMU, with the generous financial support of the European Union, the capacity building efforts for the implementation of the cash transfer programme “Valor Criança” continued with phase 2. Municipal administrations with social activists’ support are providing local trainings using the content and methodology developed by UNICEF and MASFAMU. The next cycle of payments will reach more than 9,000 families and benefit more than 18,000 children. The programme supports the inclusion of vulnerable populations (persons with disabilities, child-headed households, women-headed households, etc.) and collects disaggregated data as part of its M&E framework.
▪ Preparatory work for “Valor Criança - Emergência”, the planned cash transfer programme in Luanda, gathered pace. An agreement with service provider (Banco BAI) was finalized and the communication plan revised. Two remote training sessions were provided on social protection, cash transfers, community involvement and registration of beneficiaries for municipal focal points and NGO Atos staff. This was accompanied by face-to-face training on digital processes using tablets to aid registration of beneficiaries. Registration of beneficiaries in target communities started and over 300 children had been registered by June 12th . The programme supports inclusion of vulnerable populations: of those registered so far, 60% are women-headed households, and 17% of caregivers and 3% of children have a disability. This programme is an extension of the European Union funded APROSOC Project. “Valor Criança emergência” is being implemented thanks to the generous financial support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
Some of the main challenges for the Luanda cash transfer programme included the need for regular operational adjustments to the field operations (registration of beneficiaries) as a result of 1) the Covid-19 scenario and 2) the absence of detailed, timely and reliable data on the size of target communities prior to registration, which required an analysis of the registration data coming in on a daily basis.
Corrigendum to the earlier released UNICEF Angola COVID-19 Situation Report No. 3 for 08 May – 22 May 2020:
▪ Emergency WASH supplies of soap, bleach, water purification tablets, collapsible jerrycans, masks, gloves and alcohol gel/sanitizer were delivered to Namibe province, and not to Uige province.
▪ The main national radio broadcast in Angola (National Radio of Angola) launched the initiative “Together for Children”, starting with a series of one-minute radio spots with tested messages on violence prevention. The partnership was developed in collaboration with Ministry of Justice with the financial support of the European Union;
▪ Remote training sessions for CASIs were implemented and provided by ACO - MASFAMU. Twelve sessions were held covering the following multi-sectorial 4 modules: emergency social protection, biosafety, community engagement and cash transfers in the context of COVID-19. More than 180 participants (social activists, civil servants, members of CSOs and other partners) in Bie, Moxico and Uige participated. This capacity building activity will support the implementation of the cash transfer programme, which is a European Union-financed action.