A flight loaded with consignments of COVID-19, a large batch of critical COVID-19 health supplies provided with support from the Germany, European Union and UNDP in the framework of the RPPP programme (Regional Programme Support to Pandemic Prevention in the ECOWAS Region), arrived at the Lungi International Airport on Tuesday 6th April 2021.
The consignment, which arrived through a flight from Nigeria, is the continuation of the TeamEurope solidarity with the government and people of Sierra Leone to contain the fight against the dreaded COVID-19 disease and the West Africa sub-Region.
The items were received on the Airport tarmac by the deputy EU Ambassador, Madam Jamila El Assaidi, German Ambassador, Horst Gruner, deputy Health Minister, Dr. Anthony Sandy, WAHO focal point, Mohamed Kutubu and WHO representative, Mr. Charles Terry.
Since its launch in 2016, the RPPP programme – which is implemented by GIZ – has contributed to the fight against COVID-19 and national preparedness against Ebola in West Africa.
The consignment, comprised of aprons, gloves, boots, masks, test kits, consumables and other medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators, is the second batch flown in by ECOWAS through the West African Health Organisation (WAHO) as part of the organisation’s mandate to support ECOWAS Member States in their national health response. In total, medical supplies worth over $18 million are being distributed to 15 West African countries.
Deputy Minister Sandy praised donors, especially the international community, for their concerted efforts to combat the disease. He noted that the equipment was highly needed and underlined the importance of team-work and unity to overcome the pandemic.
Ambassador Gruner said that the recent Ebola outbreak, in Guinea, once more had shown that infectious diseases are one of the greatest challenges of our time and that it was important to further strengthen prevention and control systems in the region.
EU deputy Head of Delegation, Jamila El Assaidi, reminded that since the onset of the pandemic, Team Europe has mobilised over €38.5 billion towards a global COVID-19 response, stressing that cooperation across borders was essential to beat the virus and contain its consequences.
“The European Union and Germany, as part of “Team Europe,” also contributed additional funds for the purchase of protective and intensive care equipment for facilities and health workers of ECOWAS Member States. COVID-19 has indeed caused unprecedented pressure on healthcare workers and healthcare systems throughout the region,” she said.
Madam El Assaidi noted that, through the COVAX facility, Team Europe has been playing a key role in helping low and middle income countries to vaccinate their population, adding that so far, Team Europe has provided over €2 billion to the COVAX vaccination initiative which has aided the shipment of over 33 million doses to 74 participating countries.