National response to COVID-19
Like most systems in the world, the healthcare system of Moldova was not fully prepared to face the pandemic, being underfunded and understaffed, affected by lack of clear protocols for these circumstances, insufficient technical and professional capacities, outdated infrastructure, limited medical equipment and supplies, weak logistics, fragile communication and trust.
Besides the acute burden that COVID-19 places on the health system, many groups of the population are experiencing a lack of access to routine, essential health services due to the disruptive effects of shielding strategies, physical distancing and movement restrictions imposed as a COVID-19 response. Therefore, UNDP will engage with UN agencies and national partners to ensure an enabling environment for digitalization of healthcare, including telemedicine for essential health services.
As the pandemic hit, UNDP Moldova helped to immediately procure critical medical supplies like Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), ventilators, and thermometers, for health workers, police and the security sector, and citizens.
UNDP’s Quality Assurance Policy for Health Products, indispensable given the risk associated with the distribution of substandard or falsified health products, is now being applied to medical supplies.
As we move along with the pandemic, support is needed for strengthening further the governance of the health system to make it more resilient, to improve policy making, planning and monitoring. Our newly launched Sustainable Procurement in the Health Sector guidance note is a step towards strengthening greener health systems in the long term.
Most schools in rural areas in Moldova don’t have facilities satisfying basic water, sanitation and hygiene standards, a challenge which is even more profound during the current health crisis, when sanitary measures are expected to limit the spread of the virus, being the most recommended ones by the healthcare professionals. UNDP shall support physical rehabilitation/construction of sanitary facilities, and engage in awareness-raising efforts on the need to adhere to basic sanitary rules.
The knowledge factor about the nature and effects of the pandemic plays an important role. The public health response has an important communication and messaging component towards the public, considering its goals to share information vital for saving lives, protecting health, minimizing harm to self and others, changing beliefs, attitudes, and behavior. Accurate and accessible information and communication is critical for prevention and compliance of population. UNDP is supporting the national efforts to spread the information about combating the virus.
Here's what we're doing:
- In terms of immediate crisis response measures, UNDP Moldova – and as part of the overall UN support to immediate needs – procured critical medical supplies (medical equipment, personal protective equipment) to 120 communities and public institutions from both banks of Nistru river.
- EU-UNDP provides financial support for temporary accommodation of medical workers from the left bank of the Nistru river in the localities on the right bank where they work.
- UNDP offered IT equipment for Chisinau COVID-19 Triage Centre.
- UNDP and Estonia are strengthening the capacities of the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations to respond to the effects of COVID-19 in Moldova through provision of relevant equipment and accessories supporting establishment of the Regional Triage Centers throughout the country.
- Children who are treated for COVID-19 in Moldovan hospitals received toys crafted by EduJoc workshop. EduJoc workshop started its operations in 2016, thanks to a laser cutting device, bought from a grant offered by the European Union through UNDP. This year, during the novel coronavirus pandemics, the owner of the company, Igor Hîncu, has temporarily shifted production to make and distribute free of charge protective screens for first line workers who fight the virus.
- UNDP is supporting risk communications efforts, by teaming up with influencers (singers, graphic artists, journalists, civic activists) to share official information on COVID-19 and support #StayAtHome campaign.
- At the local level, "Online Easter" campaign mobilized communities to celebrate the holidays safely and to maintain required physical distance, while demonstrating social solidarity.
- The Cross-river Health Platform, established with support from EU-UNDP, disseminated information about the measures to contain COVID-19 on both banks of Nistru river.
- UNDP has produced video testimonials with specialists in mental health about how to manage reactions and expectations, and respectively how to overcome the challenge faced by teachers of learning quickly distance learning platforms.
- EU-UNDP supported Cross-river Health Platform conducted online seminars for the general public about the psychological implications of COVID-19 pandemic, tackling stress and psycho-somatic diseases, professional burnout etc.