As of July 2021, Iran has been hit by the fifth COVID-19 wave and the insurgence of the Delta variant of COVID-19, first found in India, in several provinces. The number of cities on ‘red alert’ has increased to 232 and the number of cities on ‘orange alert’ to 117, indicating a rising trend in infections amid continued low adherence to health protocols.
On 27th July The Iranian Ministry of Health reported that the death toll from COVID-19 in Iran has risen to 89,122 deaths (with 322 new deaths in the last 24 hours) and a total of 3,723,246 confirmed cases (with 31,814 new cases in the last 24 hours).
The 2021 HAC still has a funding gap of 89 per cent. Without sufficient funding, over 10,000 households will not have access to adequate nutritious foods, over 30,000 children will not receive the psychosocial support they need. 7,230 most vulnerable children will not have access to education, and 500 schools will not be able to ensure safe reopening. Additionally, 42,400 households are in dire need of social protection cash assistance to survive the secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
UNICEF Iran procured 2,258 of the planned 1 million COVID-19 diagnostic test kits, targeting 216,768 people; however further needs are covered by Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MoHME).
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
As of July 2021, Iran has been hit by the fifth wave and the insurgence of the Delta variant of COVID-19, first found in India, in several provinces. The number of Iranian cities on ‘red alert’ has increased to 232 and the number of cities on ‘orange alert’ to 117, indicating a rising trend in infections amid continued low adherence to health protocols. The situation in one of the already less advantageous provinces i.e. Sistan and Baluchistan is also deteriorating with the worrying figures of approximately 1,170 positive cases diagnosed per day, implying that the number of infected people has quadrupled in this province.
Following the pandemic, utilization of food and nutrition services has been diminished for thousands of children, women, and families. This has resulted in an immediate negative impact on the quality of diets and nutrition practices, causing increased malnutrition among the population groups with the highest nutrition needs, including under five children.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an extreme impact on the mental health of children and families by disrupting social connectedness, daily routines, and access to resources. The socio-economic pressure and occurrence of the COVID-19 outbreak have also provided grounds for the development of a wide range of unhealthy coping behavior (such as school dropout, and child labor/marriage) which will have long-term consequences on children’s wellbeing. In such situations, the importance of community resilience in emergency settings in ensuring the mental health and wellbeing of children and their parents/caregivers and social protection support schemes has become clearer.
Given that schools have been closed since early 2020, distance learning has been provided through the Ministry of Education (MoE) online learning platform called SHAD, national TV, and print materials. According to the MoE, 21 per cent of the student population, or 3.2 million students (out of 14 million), do not have access to the SHAD platform. Considering required digital devices and internet access, children with multiple vulnerabilities, such as Children with Disabilities (CWD) from low-income families living in lower income areas, struggle with the most challenging barriers and are more likely to lose access to distance education through online modalities, and become at-risk of school dropout.