The purpose of this checklist is to enhance compliance and adherence with the public health measures outlined in the recently-updated Considerations for school-related public health measures in the context of COVID-19, particularly taking into consideration children under the age of 18 years in educational settings and schools with limited resources. The checklist was developed in accordance with the health-promoting schools principles and approaches.It highlights the importance of multi-level coordination (i.e. national, subnational and individual school levels) and both participatory and co-designed approaches among various stakeholders (e.g. school staff, teachers, students and parents). This approach aims to optimize compliance with public health and social measures based on social and cultural contexts, as described in Considerations for implementing and adjusting public health and social measures in the context of COVID-19.
The checklist is aligned with, and builds upon, existing COVID-19-related WHO guidelines and is structured around protective measures related to: 1) hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette; 2) physical distancing; 3) use of masks in schools; 4) environmental cleaning and ventilation; and 5) respecting procedures for isolation of all people with symptoms. The checklist is designed to support policy-makers, staff and officials from the education and health sectors, local authorities, school principals/leaders and administrators, teachers’ unions, community leaders, school staff, teachers, parents and caregivers.
The ACT-Accelerator marks its first anniversary today with a special report on the global alliance’s progress against the COVID-19 pandemic. The “ACT Now, ACT Together: 2021 Impact Report” details the major scientific advances that have been made to confront the new disease, along with the history-making collaboration of global health organizations, governments, foundations, civil society, scientists and the private sector.
The report, which was launched at an event hosted by Dr Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of WHO, with live remarks by Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, and Dag Inge Ulstein, Minister of International Development for Norway, also shows the challenges ahead, including major funding gaps that threaten to derail progress against the pandemic.
“One year after the launch of the ACT Accelerator, world leaders face a choice: invest in saving lives by treating the cause of the pandemic everywhere, now, or continue to spend trillions on the consequences with no end in sight,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom said. “With a remaining funding gap of US$ 19 billion for 2021 and limited supply of products, we can only end the pandemic by funding, sharing, and scaling-up access to the tools we need to fight the disease. The time to ACT is now.”
The ACT-Accelerator alliance was launched on 24 April 2020 by WHO, the European Commission, France, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and deliver tests, treatments and vaccines the world needs to fight COVID-19.
A year ago, the world was in a very different place. Our collective understanding of COVID-19 was limited, and while we had polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing that could be done in laboratories, there were no rapid tests, no vaccines, and little was known about effective treatments. Today, rapid diagnostic tests, repurposed treatments, and vaccines exist. This scientific progress has been rapid, and unprecedented in scale and levels of collaboration.
But COVID-19 continues to spread and new variants emerge because the progress on equitably distributing those tools has not been fast enough.
COVID-19 has killed more than 3 million people worldwide, another wave is threatening many countries, and inequitable distribution of tests, treatments and vaccines is allowing the virus to accelerate and change – risking the efficacy of our current tools to fight the disease. Left to rage anywhere, the virus is a threat everywhere. A strengthened, globally coordinated effort to ensure all countries can access the tools they need is essential to help bring this virus under control and is why support for the ACT-Accelerator partnership is so important.
“COVID-19 knows no borders,” ACT-A Special Envoy Carl Bildt said. “A new variant from anywhere could unravel progress everywhere, even in a country that has achieved 100% vaccination. The pandemic is still on the rise. Only a reinforced global effort to deliver tests, treatments, and vaccines to all people everywhere, based on need rather than ability to pay, will bring an end to this pandemic. Ahead of the Global Health Summit we call on the G20, G7, and all richer countries to step up and pay their fair share to fund the global response.”
The rapid development of COVID-19 tools has been achieved thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of governments, global health organizations, scientists, the pharmaceutical industry, and manufacturers from round the world. The ACT-Accelerator partnership has supported and helped drive many of these efforts. Today’s impact report highlights the progress the partnership has made, including: