Long Read

Update COVID-19: How you can make a difference in Africa and Asia


I would like to express together with the colleagues our sympathy to everyone affected by the coronavirus. These are difficult times, which requires flexibility and to step out of our trusted routine.
The pandemic affects us all. While the Dutch health care system is coping with the amount of people infected, we think about COVID-19’s impact on Africa and Asia. We are deeply concerned about its effect in areas with limited health care, with no room for social distancing, with no access to clean and safe water, where especially women and marginalised in society are not protected by law.

Kind regards,
Ariette Brouwer

What is happening in Africa and Asia?

Governments have adopted restrictive measures, which affects the way that we are not able to carry out our usual work, if at all. At the same time, our activities aimed at water, hygiene and women’s rights, are particularly important now. Since the beginning of March we are in constant daily contact with our international partners, and we have received alarming stories. Especially the limited medical services face a big threat. Fortunately, we also see signs of resilience and creativity. For instance, gatherings are replaced by radio calls and social media, and our local communication colleagues support governments with information and prevention.

What is Simavi doing?

For 95 years we have been working on our mission: a healthy life for all. With the years we have become experts in the field of health, behavioural change and advocacy. Our specialists have learned a great deal from the recent Ebola crisis. Additionally, we have an international network, knowledge and communication means at our disposal. All of which are now being implemented, with great urgency, to contribute to the containment of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Concretely, there are a number of things that Simavi can do now:

  1. Support our local colleagues in the use of communication channels such as radio programmes, telephone helplines or SMS services to reach and inform people about COVID-19, hygiene and urgent health issues.
  2. Purchase and distribute hygiene kits, including hand soap or disinfectant hand gel in regions where water is not accessible.
  3. Purchase and distribute supplies for home births, such as gloves and disinfectants. From the Ebola crisis, we know that women whom barely have access to natal care, leads to high maternal and infant mortality, which exceeds even the mortality rate from the virus itself. This is unacceptable and will disrupt families and societies on the long term.
    Additionally, we ensure minimal disruption of access to contraception. Furthermore, through our networks, we can contribute by lobbying with local authorities to provide basic needs, for example in the field of water and sanitation.

How can you support?

We trust that you understand and support our mission, and the need for long-term assistance for Africa and Asia. It is more clear than ever that we will have to work on a healthy life for all at an international level. The virus does not stop at any border of a country or continent. Presently, it is essential to ensure further spread at a global level.

We are ready as an organisation to put our knowledge, experience and international network to work. We call on you/your company to help make this possible.

Hereby, we would like to ask you for a financial contribution to support our local colleagues in this corona crisis. We count on your trust and support and we would gladly reflect along with you about the best approach.

More information?

  • Would you like to know more about the current state of affairs? Read this article (often updated) or contact us.
  • Would you like to immediately pledge your support through a donation?
    Please contact our account manager Renate Douwes.

    Renate Douwes, Renate.douwes@simavi.nl


Start the conversation

Share this article

Long Reads

A long read is a full-length article covering one of our current topics.

More ‘long reads’ Read next long read