Looking After Those Most in Need During Coronavirus Crisis

In Mexico and Uganda, officials deliver food and other necessities to people in need. In Mongolia, journalists get a lesson in protective gear so they can safely report from hospitals and other high-risk locations. In these and other ways, countries are helping at-risk populations navigate the pandemic.

View Team
expand image
Tecámac, Mexico

Irma Soberanes, a government employee, delivers a basket of food and basic necessities to Francisca López in Tecámac, about 35 kilometers (22 miles) from Mexico City. The Tecámac government launched a program to provide food and other essentials to high-risk populations, including older people, single mothers, unemployed people and those with chronic illnesses. Residents can request assistance via phone or WhatsApp. The basket includes coffee, toothpaste, cooking oil, toilet paper, shampoo, rice, eggs and other essential items.

“Although my children give me something for spending, they’re all earning less money right now, and this does help us a little,” says López, 61.

Officials in Mexico extended social distancing measures and limits on nonessential activities until May 30. Mexico has reported 62,527 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, as of May 23, according to the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center. A total of 6,989 people have died.

Aline Suárez del Real Islas, GPJ Mexico

expand image
expand image
Kampala, Uganda

Nantongo Sharifah and her husband, Kalibala John, receive a tin of powdered milk and sugar from a member of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF), the country’s armed forces. As part of a food relief initiative, the Ugandan government gave each family member in Kasubi, a high-density housing area in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, 6 kilograms (13 pounds) of posho, a maize porridge, and 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) of beans. The UPDF offered the powdered milk and sugar as an additional donation to help families during the coronavirus crisis. Ugandan prison officers and UPDF officers delivered the goods to families.

Uganda has been under a nationwide lockdown since April 1. As of May 23, Uganda has 175 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and no deaths.

Nakisanze Segawa, GPJ Uganda

expand image
Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico

Yoliztlaman Carcoba Ruiz teaches a two-hour sign language class to students through the BS Biblioteca Infantil, a children’s library in Oaxaca de Juárez, the capital of Oaxaca, a state in southern Mexico. He teaches parents of children with hearing impairments, medical students, psychologists, teachers and people who are losing their hearing.

Carcoba says the same motivation drives all his students: the need to be able to communicate with their relatives, friends, students or patients.

Like many teachers around the world, Carcoba is giving his classes from home due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Ena Alicia Aguilar Peláez, GPJ Mexico

expand image
Darkhan, Darkhan-Uul Province, Mongolia

Ariunaa Ravjaa, left, and Otgonbaatar Lhagvasuren show journalists how to put on protective clothing. Ariunaa, who works for the Darkhan-Uul Emergency Management Agency and the Health Department, gave a presentation on how to stay safe while reporting in hospitals and other high-risk scenarios.

Journalists in Darkhan-Uul, a province in northern Mongolia, have been instructed to wear protective clothing similar to that worn by nurses in the Infectious Diseases Unit of the Darkhan General Hospital.

Otgonbaatar, a journalist from the MONTSAME News Agency, participated in the class and volunteered to help guide students through the process of putting on the protective gear.

Mongolia was among the first countries to take preemptive measures to slow the progression of the coronavirus by closing its borders, schools and other public institutions in late January. As of May 23, Mongolia has 141 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Tegshdelger Batbayar, GPJ Mongolia

Click here to see more coronavirus coverage.