Evidence suggests that these crisis-affected populations are at an increased risk of epidemic diseases. This is in part due to health risks associated with forced displacement, overcrowding and inadequate access and coverage of WASH services. Numerous outbreaks of infectious diseases such as cholera, diphtheria and measles have been reported from camps and camp-like settings. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 in these settings is important to protect extremely vulnerable populations and the broader population within a country.
Additionally, these populations may also be neglected, stigmatized and have difficulties accessing health services that are available to the general or host population. Crisis-affected populations may therefore be at an increased risk of severe COVID-19 or dying from COVID-19 if they are unable to access health services. There is a strong public health and human rights rationale to extend all services to everyone, regardless of status and ensure inclusivity of the response. During the COVID-19 epidemic, health services should be offered equitably to protect those most vulnerable to the consequences of the epidemic and the response.
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Author: Lauren D’Mello Guyett
Last update: 11.8.2020