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A nurse wearing a white coat, gloves, a mask, and a blue hat checks the blood pressure of a patient with her back to the camera. They are both seated.

At a glance

COVID-19 has swept across the world, deepening and amplifying already existing health, economic, and social inequalities

Minimizing public health risks in relation to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is at the heart of Oxfam’s emergency response work. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, community engagement on WASH is now more important than ever.

But the pandemic is more than a public health crisis. It is the final straw for millions of people already struggling with the impacts of conflict, climate change, inequality and a broken food system that has impoverished millions of food producers and workers. It has had a profound impact on unpaid care work, a responsibility disproportionately held by women.

Oxfam is calling for governments to scale up investment in universal public health care free at the point of use.  This is central to the fight against economic, gender, racial and other forms of inequality and to ensure that health systems can respond to the pandemic. And we call for universal and fair access to a vaccine as a global public good just as we have long called for universal access to affordable medicines.

We believe that care work is essential to the healthy functioning of our societies and economies and must be at the heart of a feminist coronavirus recovery.   A fundamental reframing of the norms and structures that have historically led to exclusion, discrimination and marginalization of women, Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour, LGBTQIA+ people, those living in poverty and other groups must be central to that future vision.

Photo captions and credit

A woman at one of the RWWS women’s centers in Cox’s Bazar receives medical care. Fabeha Monir/Oxfam