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Since April, COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed in India, placing a severe strain on the health system. On May 4, the government reported a total of 20,282,833 cases, with oxygen shortages contributing to the growing numbers in deaths, which now total over 220,000.

Some hospitals have run out of beds and oxygen, medication is running low, and there are vaccine shortages.

Urgent support is required to provide women access to basic needs.

Women and girls, especially from poor and marginalized communities, are facing an increased work burden. They need urgent access to basic needs such as cooked food, PPEs, hand sanitizers, and soap; access to information about available health services to prevent the spread of fake news/vaccine hesitancy and keep families safe; and access to vaccines.

Beyond the immediate crisis, women and girls will need ongoing support to recover economically and socially. They will need access to skills training, business training and start-up financing, digital technology, entry into market supply chains, and much more.

UN Women is working with our grassroots partners on the ground to take action now. We are helping women by:

• Training frontline health workers and nurses in COVID-19 response with a focus on managing recovery of affected people and controlling infection.

• Running community support groups on access to financial, legal, health and psychological services for poor women and girls.

• Distributing medical kits, oximeters to 4,000 women carers, dry rations and advice on symptoms and vaccination through communities.

• Providing cash transfers to 10,000 vulnerable women in crises and access to basic PPEs for first-line responders.

• Ensuring the services to gender-based violence survivors do not disappear during this crisis, by training counsellors, over 2,000 frontline violence protection responders, and staff at One Stop Centres for at-risk women.

• Training 100,000 women’s groups to distribute sexual and gender-based violence information to 1 million women, in addition to 500,000 men and boys on active prevention of violence.

• Supporting women’s livelihoods including by training them to produce and sell face masks where they have lost their jobs during the pandemic, and supporting women farmers with training and equipment to sustain livelihoods and ensure food security.

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