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UNFPA Uganda has handed over an assortment of personal protective equipment (PPE) worth USD 650,000 to the Ministry of Health to contribute to limiting health workers’ exposure to infections and build their confidence and morale to perform their duties amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The equipment comprising of Surgical masks, Respirators, Examination &  Surgical gloves; Heavy Duty Aprons & Gloves; Goggles, Liquid soap and Hand sanitizers will be distributed to 42 districts in West Nile, Acholi, Karamoja, Eastern and Western Uganda. The brief ceremony took place at the Ministry of Health premises on January 29, 2021.

While handing over the equipment to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Dr. Diana Atwine, UNFPA’s Representative Mr. Alain Sibenaler recognised the efforts by the Government of Uganda for the remarkable and robust response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(L-R): Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health Dr Diana Atwine
receives samples of the donated PPE from UNFPA Representative
Mr Alain Sibenaler at the Ministry of Health on January 29.
(PHOTO: UNFPA/Evelyn Matsamura Kiapi)

“While the demand on health services is heavy, amplified by the huge cases of COVID-19, the whole-of-government approach in Uganda, built around a comprehensive strategy to prevent infections has changed the course of this pandemic and minimized the impact,” Mr Sibenaler said.

The Representative also mentioned that availability of PPE will ensure that health care workers treat cases of pregnant women with safety and confidence.

“As demands on systems have surged, health workers themselves have increasingly been affected by COVID-19 infection. Therefore, it is imperative that we continue implementing the adaptations to sustain delivery of essential services whilst taking measures to keep the health workers safe,” he said.

While receiving the equipment, Permanent Secretary Dr. Diana Atwine acknowledged UNFPA’s contribution in supporting government priorities especially Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights programmes in Uganda.

“We are also grateful for the efforts that UNFPA has invested in the COVID-19 pandemic response since it broke out.

“The Ministry also appreciates the efforts that UNFPA has extended to facilities across the country since the pandemic started,” Dr. Atwine said.

The Permanent Secretary also acknowledged UNFPA’s support through the Kampala City Council for providing PPE to six health facilities and two hospitals in the Kampala metropolitan region worth USD 100,000 worth (UGX 370,000,000)  in December last year.  

“We also appreciate the support you gave us in form of an ambulance to Yumbe hospital. The ambulance is already supporting the refugee population and host communities in the district,” she added.

UNFPA is cognizant of the unique challenges that this pandemic presents to the healthcare system at the moment. By December 2020, UNFPA had contributed PPE worth USD730, 000 (UGX 2.7 billion) that were distributed to 46 districts in Uganda.

-Written by Evelyn Matsamura Kiapi