The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) and Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS) have been working to ensure that Pakistan and Tajikistan’s most vulnerable communities, volunteers, and patients have access to information, food, and essential supplies needed at this crucial time.

Pakistan’s Covid-19 response teams are working to address the country’s large population and limited health services. AKAH immediately jumped in to aid national response efforts, in coordination with the government and with emergency funding provided by FOCUS, to provide food and essential supplies for the communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

The funding provided by FOCUS enabled AKAH to collect two weeks’ worth of food for more than 4,000 households across Pakistan, zeroing in on the more remote and hard-to-reach areas of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan. AKAH volunteers also collected essential medicines and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to distribute to humanitarian aid volunteers and health professionals around the country.

Likewise, in Tajikistan, FOCUS secured funding for essential emergency medical supplies as well as communication efforts to raise awareness about the global coronavirus pandemic including in remote mountainous areas. In addition to the essential PPE, informational leaflets and posters were distributed to educate the population on Covid-19 across the region. Overall, the contribution from FOCUS complemented national efforts to significantly boost Tajikistan’s preparedness levels in managing and containing the spread of the pandemic.

In Pakistan, however, when lockdowns were implemented to reduce the spread of the virus, restrictions on movement immensely disrupted vital supply chains and deliveries for essential goods, including food and medicine. Isolated mountain communities were particularly hurt by price increases and food scarcity.

Relying on its network of more than 35,000 trained volunteers across the country, AKAH quickly and efficiently mobilised and transported food and medical supplies as well as public health education to both rural and urban regions of Pakistan.

“Serving communities during Covid-19 was more of a challenge in mountainous and faraway areas of Chitral,” said Abdul Nasir Khan, captain of the Community Emergency Response Team for Bang village in the Chitral district. “As an individual volunteer and part of a community-based organisation, serving humanity is our core value… We feel proud to serve the vulnerable.”

As the global coronavirus crisis continues to evolve, FOCUS is committed to providing ongoing support to the Aga Khan Agency for Habitat teams in Tajikistan, Pakistan, and the region.