Viet Nam, as many other countries, has been deeply affected by the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Economic Update released by World Bank in April 20201 , the impacts of COVID-19 could double the poverty rates in Viet Nam from 18 per cent to 31 per cent among households linked to manufacturing reliant on imported inputs. Viet Nam’s economic growth rate in 2020 is expected to reduce to 2.7 per cent compared to Government target of 7.2% (IMF, 2020)2 . Viet Nam is among the most vulnerable economies to global crises, due to its strong economic integration, tourism and 50 per cent of the population working in agriculture and the informal sector – key aggregated impacts include elevated external debts and sizable fiscal deficits that negatively and directly affect social services.
Among the most serious impacts are the disruption to essential healthcare (including reduced health seeking behavior), nutrition and education services; parents and caregivers struggle with alternative childcare arrangements, with some children left alone at home, others drawn into child labour. Loss of income and social distancing leads to economic and psychological stress, which among others, resulted in increased levels of domestic violence and gender-based violence (GBV) affecting women and children.
UNICEF Viet Nam has developed a cross-sectoral preparedness and response plan to support the Government which covers 5 priority areas: (i) Risk communication and community engagement (RCCE); (ii) Provision of critical medical and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) supplies and improving Infection Prevention and Control (IPC); (iii) Provision of continued access to essential healthcare and nutrition services including case management; (iv) Access to continuous education, social protection, child protection and gender-based violence services; and (v) data collection and social science research on the social impacts of COVID-19.
To date, UNICEF has reached over 64 million people with COVID-19 messaging on prevention and access to services, more than 9 million people have engaged on COVID-19 through RCCE actions and nearly 14 thousand people have shared their concerns and asked questions/clarifications for available support services. With UNICEF support, 3,300 people received nutrition messages, and 5,000 children had access to essential nutrition services during the COVID-19 pandemic period. Over 43 thousand schools implemented safe school protocols and approximately 15.1 million children were supported with distance/homebased learning.