A UNICEF situation report on COVID-19 has found that the upward trends in infections is due in part to insufficient PPE, limited health system capacity, and low testing capabilities. Concerns were also raised that the population has become “more relaxed” about wearing masks and observing social distancing.
The report also noted that the Albanian government had recognised the digital vulnerability of children that were unable to access online learning due to not having internet, television, or device access.
This was a big concern during the COVID-19 lockdown as students from up to 153,000 families were unable to continue their studies remotely due to lack of internet. Throughout the region, Roma children were particularly at risk of digital vulnerability.
UNICEF is also providing support for the airing of 2100 lessons over the summer period. The aim of this is to allow students to catch up on what they may have missed before.
During the COVID-19 period, critical hygiene supplies were delivered to some 17,438 people in 12 municipalities in Albania. Online training was also given to neo natalists on WHO breastfeeding recommendations as well as IPC training.
UNICEF also produced child-focussed multi-lingual (Albanian, Macedonian, Romani) animated videos for national television on preventative and protective measures against COVID-19.
Another key focus of UNICEF was protecting women and children in difficult circumstances. During the pandemic, UNICEF gave guidance notes to prevent online abuse of women and children in Albania as well as training packs for mental health workers and social services.