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UNFPA hands over PPE to Ministry of Health to maintain access to sexual and reproductive health services amid COVID-19, supported by Denmark, Japan and the Netherlands

August 26 2021. Kampala, Uganda UNFPA Uganda with support from the embassies of Denmark, Japan and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, has handed over an assortment of personal protective equipment (PPE) worth USD 405,076 (about 1.4 billion Uganda shillings) to the Ministry of Health. The equipment will help maintain provision of sexual and reproductive health information and services, and protect health workers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The PPE, comprising of surgical masks, respirators, examination gloves, surgical gloves liquid soap, hand sanitizers community face masks will go to 43 districts across the country.

The COVID-19 pandemic is straining public health systems, including in Uganda. Services to provide sexual and reproductive health care are at risk of being sidelined, with many health workers lacking adequate personal protective equipment. UNFPA and its partners are working to mitigate the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on the lives of women and girls in Uganda by ensuring the continuity of reproductive health services during the pandemic.

The Embassy of Denmark has  contributed USD 117,078 (about 414 million Uganda Shillings) to strengthen women and young people’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender based violence prevention and treatment in West Nile and Acholi regions[1]. With this support, health workers including nurses, midwives and clinical officers will be trained to safely provide adolescent health services and conduct integrated service outreaches to reach communities with essential reproductive health services in the context of COVID-19.

“The Government of Denmark is very pleased to support the Ministry of Health with supplementary essential Infection Prevention Control supplies. We hope that these PPE will help the medical personnel to continue providing some of the critical sexual and reproductive health services that have been challenged by COVID-19,” said His Excellency Nicolaj A. Hejberg Petersen, Ambassador of Denmark to Uganda.

To ensure continuity of life-saving sexual and reproductive health and protection services and to ensure that survivors of rape and other forms of violence get the support and treatment they need, the Embassy of Japan has contributed USD 220,588 (about 780 million Uganda shillings). The support is targeting vulnerable populations in refugee settlements and among host communities in five refugee hosting districts of Isingiro, Kamwenge, Kyegegwa, Kikuube and Lamwo.

With our contribution, we hope to alleviate its socio-economic burden in Western and Northern area. Japan is determined to continue to support Uganda’s solidarity with refugees,” said His Excellency Hidemoto Fukuzawa, Ambassador of Japan to Uganda.

 

The Embassy of the Netherlands has contributed PPE worth USD 33,410 (about 120 million Uganda Shillings) and reproductive health equipment worth USD 137,000 (483 million Uganda Shillings). The equipment will go to selected health facilities in all twelve districts of West Nile sub-region and Lamwo, Amuru and Agago districts in Acholi sub-region to enable them provide sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services to women, girls, boys and men as well as refugees and persons living with disability in West Nile and Acholi sub-regions.

“The pandemic is not gender blind, neither age blind, so neither should our strategies be. Therefore, investing in sexual and reproductive health should remain a priority to avoid a rise in maternal and new-born mortality, increased unmet need for contraception, and an increased number of unsafe abortions and sexually transmitted infections,” said His Excellency Joost van Ettro, Deputy Ambassador, Kingdom of the Netherlands to Uganda.

Also included in the equipment to be handed over to the Ministry of Health is USD 34,000 (about 120 million Uganda Shillings) worth of equipment from Joint Programme on Elimination of FGM and UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office.

UNFPA Representative Mr. Alain Sibenaler appreciated the support from the Governments of Denmark, Japan and the Netherlands, noting that efforts to keep health systems functioning are critical to help avoid higher rates of maternal deaths, unintended pregnancies, teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions, HIV and sexually transmitted infections as a result of the pandemic.

 

“I am grateful to our partners for helping us keep reproductive health care services and support for survivors of gender-based violence going amid the COVID-19 pandemic when we are experiencing women and girls losing access to these services,” he said.

Mr. Sibenaler commended the leadership of the Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Health for the country’s robust response to the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that efforts to keep COVID-19 cases at bay places a huge demand on health services and health workers in particular.  

“Ensuring the provision of safe and quality services requires an adequate healthcare workforce that has access to relevant supplies and equipment for infection prevention and control. This requires first and foremost sufficient supplies of quality-assured PPE for all frontline health workers,” Mr. Sibenaler noted.   

While receiving the equipment on behalf of the Ministry of Health Hon. Margaret Muhanga, State Minister for Primary Health Care, appreciated the support from UNFPA and the embassies of Denmark, Japan and the Netherlands. She noted that the equipment and other ongoing support will help build resilience in the health system that has been affected by COVID-19 and build confidence frontline health workers to carry on providing services amidst the pandemic.

 

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[1] Adjumani, Agago, Amuru, Arua, Terego, Kitgum, Lamwo, Madi-Okollo, Moyo, Obongi and Yumbe