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WHO/Europe, EU deliver critical supplies to COVID-19 frontline

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Planes carrying more than 4.7 million items of personal protective equipment (PPE), procured by WHO/Europe with funding from the European Union (EU), have landed in Azerbaijan, Belarus and Ukraine over the last 2 days.

The essential protective equipment will help health-care workers in the 3 countries respond effectively and safely to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 92-tonne consignment includes more than 2.8 million medical masks, 1.3 million respirator masks, 100 000 face shields, 60 000 pairs of goggles and 340 000 isolation gowns. All these meet quality and safety standards for health-care workers on the frontline.

Of these, the 900 000 pieces of PPE delivered to Ukraine will help stock 50 hospitals in the country for at least 1 month. Belarus received 3.6 million pieces of PPE in this round, and Azerbaijan’s share was 160 000 pieces.

The shipment is the first of several organized by WHO, in partnership with the EU, with vital medical supplies expected to land next in Armenia, Georgia and the Republic of Moldova. In total, more than 10 million pieces of PPE, testing kits and case management supplies are to be delivered over a period of 8 weeks to the 6 countries.

WHO and EU in solidarity for health

The delivery of supplies is part of a larger package of assistance announced by the EU in March 2020. The €30 million aid from the EU will go towards preventing, detecting and responding to COVID-19 in the 6 countries.

These funds will be used over a period of 2 years, initially for immediate emergency needs, such as procuring essential supplies and training for health-care workers, frontline responders and patients, and in the longer term to strengthen the countries’ capacity to respond to public health emergencies.