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EU, UNICEF deliver medical supplies to support Tajikistan respond to COVID-19

19 May 2020

The European Delegation in Tajikistan and UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Tajikistan delivered critical medical supplies to support the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Tajikistan in the battle against COVID-19, the Delegation of the European Union to Tajikistan said.

On May 17, a shipment organised by UNICEF Tajikistan and financed by the European Delegation in Tajikistan of approximately 13 tons of vital medical supplies arrived in Dushanbe. The shipment includes essential personal protective equipment (PPE) and comprises 36,250 protective coveralls, 40,320 N95 medical masks, and 720 thermometers. This shipment is the first out of four organised by the European Union and UNICEF and makes up 30% of the agreed 64 tonnes worth of equipment procured by UNICEF as part of the European Union's contribution to Tajikistan's emergency COVID-19 response.

The list of procured supplies has been drawn up in close coordination with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and is based on prioritised needs. UNICEF will directly distribute the supplies to the targeted medical facilities across the country and a special monitoring mechanism has been put in place to follow up on the match of needs and supplies. Overall, with €1.3 million, 1,500 medical professionals at hospitals and quarantine facilities will be equipped with essential personal protective equipment, including medical/surgical masks, respirators, gloves and gowns, to secure adequate COVID-19 related care for 40,000 patients. Facilitating that minimum measures will be put in place to ensure effective infection prevention and control at the targeted facilities for a period of approximately 3 months.

Ms Marilyn Josefson, Ambassador of the European Union to Tajikistan said: "This multifaceted pandemic requires an unprecedented level of mobilisation within the countries themselves. However, with the experience gathered from Europe and other parts of the world, working closely together is the most effective way to overcome both the acute medical crisis as well as to mitigate the long term negative socio-economic impacts. Now is the time for cooperation and solidarity, as the virus does not discriminate between people or borders. Only a fast, massive and coordinated response can help to save lives, protect people and tackle the negative economic fallout. As one of the leading donors supporting the healthcare system in Tajikistan, the European Union has strengthened its support and reoriented priorities to assist in the country's COVID-19 response. Together with UNICEF, we as an initial step, have mobilised additional resources to support the Ministry of Health and Social Protection to better protect and equip healthcare workers all around the country. The European Union will continue to work closely together with UNICEF, other donors, government bodies, NGOs and community activists to actively add our contribution to the joint efforts to slow down the epidemic and its long term negative effects. This is a marathon, not a sprint."

UNICEF Tajikistan has been committed to support key partners from the Government of Tajikistan and since February, at the request of the Government, has procured and delivered four batches of PPEs, disinfectant and hygiene-related supplies. UNICEF is also a lead on Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE), working through partners to produce vital communication materials to support COVID-19 prevention in public places, including hospitals and primary health facilities, building capacities of medical professionals and frontline workers in the scope of partnership with different organizations to adequately respond to the threat of the COVID-19.

Ms Zainab Al-Azzawi, Deputy Representative of UNICEF in Tajikistan added: "Life-saving work of frontline medical professionals and health specialists has never been more critical than today. In the face of this pandemic, protection and safety of these heroes is an important priority. We remain by the side of our partners from the Ministry of Health to mobilize partners and leverage our global network to support with the provision of vital supplies, engage as technical needs on risk communication and support keeping communities safe."

As of May 18, Tajikistan reported a total of 1,729 cases of coronavirus infection, including 41 deaths.