COVID-19 Specific Interventions
Preparation and response to COVID-19 specific interventions will be essential to containing and mitigating the pandemic. This category refers to interventions that are specific to COVID-19, as opposed to COVID-19-sensitive interventions that are listed in the second category entitled Adapting existing interventions to COVID-19 (COVID-sensitive). The current category includes four sections: 1) Risk assessment & content analysis; 2) Investigation & surveillance; 3) Prevention; and 4) Case management.
- Guidance: COVID-19 Specific Interventions - Scaling-up COVID-19 Outbreak Readiness and Response Operations in Humanitarian Situations Including Camps and Camp-Like Situations, IASC, March 2020
- Guidance: COVID-19 Specific Interventions - Responding to COVID-19: Guidance for humanitarian agencies, ALNAP, April 1 2020
- Guidance: COVID-19 Specific Interventions - Interim Guidance: IASC Emergency Response Preparedness (ERP) Approach to the COVID-19 Pandemic - Preparedness, Early Action and Readiness Sub-Group, IASC Results Group 1 on Operational Response, IASC, April 28 2020
An insightful understanding of the context is essential to inform preparedness and response strategies. This includes identifying high-risk population groups for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 shocks; recognizing setting-specific constraints (e.g. land availability, remoteness, population density, general health services availability as well as intensive care capacity) and also gauging pragmatic approaches to implement activities. This section focuses on methodologies, tools, measures and challenges related to conducting risk assessments and context analyses in humanitarian setting.
The decision about which activities to conduct and how to implement them in a given setting will depend on the characteristics of the context. Options and adaptation possibilities will vary in urban or rural settings, high or low densely populated areas, and populations with higher burden of chronic diseases, among other factors.
Different rapid assessment methods exist that have been used both following natural disasters as well as protracted crises. Some are broader in scope and cover multiple aspects of vulnerability, others focus on specific subjects, such as nutritional or health status. This section will focus on whether and how these tools need to be adapted for COVID-19 in order to gather the needed data to inform preparedness and response plans.
A core element of the COVID-19 pandemic response is the rapid investigation of suspected cases or clusters of COVID-19, and robust surveillance of SARS-COV-2 transmission and COVID-19 in the population. Given the novelty of SARS-COV-2, investigation and surveillance are particularly challenging in general, and in crisis-affected settings in particular. This section includes guidance for the planning, implementation and evaluation of COVID-19 investigation and surveillance interventions in crisis-affected populations.
A key tenet for the control of communicable diseases is the prevention of transmission. One arm includes the policies, infrastructure, protocols, and equipment to reduce transmission in health facilities and in the public; the other arm includes consistent and factual health messaging on the risk of disease, the promotion of effective communication, and the engagement of the community in prevention efforts.
Community engagement is the process of supporting communities to consider themselves partners in an outbreak response, and to have ownership in controlling an outbreak. It is a principle rather than a defined set of activities, and the approaches to this vary depending on factors such as local social structures, community coherence, preferred communication methods, and relationships with authority.
The treatment of COVID-19 cases first relies on successful identification of cases to prevent transmission and determination of their clinical severity to make informed decisions about the appropriate level of care. Clinical guidelines for the management of the full spectrum of clinical symptomology, from mild cases to severe cases requiring hospitalization and critical care, are necessary for the efficient allocation of scarce resources. Adapting triage and case management guidelines to specific contexts is imperative for an effective health system response.