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, said the UN office in Dhaka on Thursday.
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 to 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. DGHS will continue working closely with the UN for strengthening lifesaving activities across the country, keeping frontline health workers safe and ensuring that adequate testing and treatment capacities are in place,” said Dr Abul Kalam Azad, Director General of Health Services.
Mia Seppo, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh said the UN 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,” she said.
“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. The UN has been working with the Government to identify the exact needs and to ensure the supplies can reach the country in a timely manner,” 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.
Ensuring the fast procurement and delivery of these critical supplies is essential for strengthening the COVID-19 response in Bangladesh and it would not be possible without generous support from our donor partners.
Additional equipment and supplies are essential for continuing the testing and treatment activities across the country, as well as for reducing the spread of the virus.