COPASAH Message of Solidarity to Practitioners Worldwide on COVID-19



25 March 2020
Dear friends, colleagues and associates,
During these troubled times, we bring warm greetings of solidarity to all of you from COPASAH - Community of Practitioners on Accountability and Social Action in Health. As practitioners and pro-people advocates all of you are the frontline defenders of marginalised people’s health and wellbeing. Our thoughts are with all of you and with everyone affected by the coronavirus pandemic and/or involved to contain the pandemic.
COPASAH is proud to engage and associate with incredible organizations, members and practitioners around the world – civil society organizations, health care providers including frontline health workers, researchers and academia, professional bodies to mention but few – concerned with the wellbeing of the vulnerable communities. We at the COPASAH steering committee and secretariat are inspired and encouraged by all the work of practitioners worldwide in stopping the COVID 19 pandemic, and in ensuring accountability and transparency while carrying on their work.
This COVID 19 Pandemic has challenge the capacity of our already weak and  fragile health systems worldwide, thus, we need to step up advocacy by calling on the leaders of our countries to step up overall public health resources while dedicating adequate emergency funds, to ensure that health workers have adequate personal protective equipment, and healthcare facilities have functioning infection prevention and control measures including clean running water and handwashing spots everywhere.
In advocating for all these, we take a cue from Dr Tedros, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) “calling on everyone to wash their hands in light of COVID-19”.  
Also the recent UNICEF FACT SHEET on Handwashing on the 13th of March 2020 has revealed that “Handwashing with soap, when done correctly, is critical in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but millions of people have no ready access to a place to wash their hands, in total, only 3 out of 5 people worldwide have basic handwashing facilities, according to the latest data.”
It also highlighted the following:

 Coronavirus has exposed the lack of access to basic facilities like water, sanitation to the most vulnerable even to practice basic public health measures of handwashing. Above all, in many countries, the frontline health workers have no adequate preventive equipment such as masks and gloves to protect themselves from infection and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
We, as the community of practitioners and defenders of people’s health are deeply concerned about the following at this time of crisis:

We call upon all the governments to strengthen the public health system and protect the health of the vulnerable and marginalised communities during this crisis. Wherever required, available private healthcare resources should also be brought under control of the public health system, to ensure adequate availability of care to all affected persons during the epidemic. We also call upon all practitioners and civil society defenders of people’s health worldwide, to advocate and create awareness so that our governments and health agencies provide the much needed responses to address the challenges of COVID 19 pandemic. We express our utmost solidarity with the all vulnerable, disadvantaged and otherwise discriminated and excluded communities, as well as frontline healthcare workers involved in dealing with this pandemic.
In Solidarity,

Association for emancipation, solidarity and equality of women – ESE, as member of the Executive Committee  of COPASAH.

The Global Co-conveners, Steering Committee  and the Global Secretariat - COPASAH