The United Nations in Bangladesh has provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other emergency medical and humanitarian aid supplies to the government of Bangladesh and the humanitarian operation in Cox’s Bazar to support the country’s COVID-19 response.
These critical supplies have managed to land despite broken supply chains globally, the UN office in Dhaka said on Thursday in a statement.
The latest cargo to arrive means the UN has brought in more than 1.5 million gloves, 900 000 masks, goggles, and face shields, 300 thermometers, materials for building isolation and medical centres as well as the necessary medical supplies, and thousands of other protective items such as caps, gowns, boots, and shoe coverings imported by IOM, UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, and WHO. The items have been handed over the government of Bangladesh or deployed to the humanitarian operation supporting the Government’s response to the Rohingya crisis in Cox’s Bazar.
Since the early stages of the pandemic, UN agencies have been supporting the country’s preparedness and response activities through scaling up testing and treatment capacities, training health workers, working side by side with Government to reduce disease burden and loss of lives.
“The support of the UN agencies has been very valuable in the fight against COVID, helping Bangladesh to provide a strong and immediate response to the pandemic,” Dr Abul Kalam Azad, Director General for Health was quoted as saying.
“The Secretary General has called for humanitarian access and opening of corridors for safe and timely movement of goods and personnel. This is vital for saving lives. The UN family in Bangladesh is working to support the Government’s COVID-19 response and reducing the negative social and economic impacts of the pandemic,” said Mia Seppo, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh.
“It takes a coordinated effort from UN agencies, working closely with the government and health authorities, to be able to receive humanitarian goods in an environment where global humanitarian supply chains are not yet completely up and running,” said Richard Ragan, WFP Representative.
WFP is working globally and in Bangladesh on the supply chains to ensure the flow of humanitarian cargo and staff.
The UN has also welcomed the arrival of qualified professional health professionals to Bangladesh who will support the COVID-19 response.
The group includes emergency doctors, intensive care nurses, respiratory experts and other medical experts.
After a two-week quarantine, they will join the COVID-19 response on the frontline. The personnel have been deployed through UNHCR, Save the Children and IOM.
“UN staff are working side by side with government in every division and district of the country for averting the spread of the virus and loss of lives. The new supplies, equipment and health workers are very important to continue the lifesaving activities while ensuring proper protection for frontline medical staff,” said Dr Bardan Jung Rana, WHO Representative to Bangladesh.