The delivery of 3.6 million pieces of personal protective equipment, funded by the European Union and procured by the WHO, includes 1 million medical respirators, more than 2 million medical masks, 50 000 goggles, 50 000 face shields and 80 000 gowns. All items of equipment delivered have been checked to ensure they meet quality and safety standards for health-care workers on the frontline.
Ambassador Dirk Schuebel, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Belarus, and the WHO Representative in Belarus, Batyr Berdyklychev, handed over the equipment to the Ministry of Healthcare of Belarus, represented by Deputy Minister Boris Androsyuk, as part of a larger assistance package to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Additional supplies of personal protective equipment and ventilators for patients are to be delivered to Belarus in the next rounds of shipments.
European Union Ambassador Dirk Schuebel said: “In this pandemic, to win the fight against the virus, it is important to work together to stop the spread. Unless the virus is defeated everywhere, it is not defeated. Together with its Member States and financial institutions, we act as Team Europe, combining resources and assisting in various areas with our partner countries, including Belarus.”
“Over the past months, we have worked closely with the United Nations and the Belarusian Red Cross to ensure safe working conditions for health and social workers all across the country,” he added. “Today, we are happy to ensure another supply of medical materials and protective gear to support Belarus’ health sector.”
The central warehouse of the Department of Medical Response of the Ministry of Healthcare will ensure the supplies are distributed to medical facilities across the country.
Batyr Berdyklychev, WHO Representative and Head of the WHO Country Office in Belarus, said: “Health-care workers are at the frontline of our response to COVID-19, placing them at higher risk of exposure to the virus. They are our heroes, but they are not superhuman."
“The delivery of this protective equipment, made possible thanks to the generous contribution of the European Union, will go far in reducing the risk health-care workers in our country face in their daily work and help protect them, patients and vulnerable people from this virus,” he added.
The donation of the personal protective equipment is part of the European Union’s response to the outbreak of COVID-19, currently affecting more than 188 countries and territories. On 27 March 2020, the European Union announced an assistance package of €30 million to help prevent, detect and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in six countries of eastern Europe and the Caucasus, including Belarus.
The funds initially will be used to meet immediate emergency needs, such as procuring essential supplies and training for health-care workers, frontline responders and patients. In the longer term, the assistance will go towards strengthening the country’s capacity to respond to public health emergencies.
The project builds upon the European Union’s and the WHO’s ongoing support to Belarus.
Information for journalists:
Stay updated via the interactive dashboards on the latest COVID-19 statistics WHO HQ; WHO/Europe; these provide real-time, in-depth information on the situation.
Please visit the WHO website for COVID-19 advice for public.
Information on the European Union in Belarus is available here.