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Strengthening preparedness for COVID-19 in cities and urban settings

Source(s):  World Health Organization (WHO)

This document is to support local authorities, leaders and policy-makers in cities and other urban settlements in identifying effective approaches and implementing recommended actions that enhance the prevention, preparedness and readiness for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in urban settings, to ensure a robust response and eventual recovery.

To be effective, any public health measure must be implementable and designed in a way that will promote the willingness to comply. Urban authorities should among others:

•  adopt a coordinated multisectoral, whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach;

•  consider diverse social and cultural interactions with health issues, norms and perceptions;

•  consider the extent of reliance on the informal sector or economy;

•  ensure that health facilities are prepared for COVID-19 and identify and mobilize additional resources;

•  ensure adequate housing, reduce risk of homelessness and anticipate outward migration and mobility;

•  ensure that due consideration is given to maintaining good mental wellbeing.

In addition to the COVID-19 strategic preparedness and response plan (SPRP) and the COVID-19 strategy, there are four key areas that local authorities of cities and urban settlements should focus on in ensuring preparedness:

  1. Coordinated local plans in preparation for effective responses to health risks and impacts;
  2. Risk and crisis communication and community engagement that encourage compliance with measures;
  3. Contextually appropriate approaches to public health measures, especially physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette; and
  4. Access to health care services for COVID-19 and the continuation of essential services.



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  • Strengthening preparedness for COVID-19 in cities and urban settings
  • Publication date 2020
  • Number of pages 18 p.

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