European Union humanitarian aid brought by UNICEF to Kazakhstan
over 300,000 ampoules of dexamethasone and 2,000 pulse oximeters, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
Almaty, 29 December 2020 – The European Union in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), today flew to Kazakhstan a shipment of over 300,000 ampoules of dexamethasone and 2,000 pulse oximeters in support of the Government of Kazakhstan’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The total weight of the EU-funded humanitarian aid is 1,138 kg.
“In these unprecedented times the spread of the novel coronavirus has seriously stretched the healthcare system of Kazakhstan. The government has worked tirelessly to stop the spread of COVID-19. But the pandemic continues to affect global and local manufacturer production capacities and supply chains. High demand for medicines and medical supplies persists. Therefore, it is our joint responsibility provide much-needed humanitarian support to the people of Kazakhstan,” says UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan Arthur van Diesen. “We sincerely thank the European Union for partnering to deliver vital medical supplies to Kazakhstan. We believe that this project will help save and preserve the lives and health of Kazakhstani families," Mr. van Diesen emphasized.
SK-Pharmacy LLP, a single distributor in Kazakhstan, received the medical supplies at the Almaty airport and will distribute them across healthcare facilities in all regions of Kazakhstan based on their needs.
“Given the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 virus and continuous demand for medicines and medical supplies, the EU is joining forces with UNICEF to support the Government of Kazakhstan and minimize the risk for the most vulnerable citizens, including children and pregnant women,” said Mr. Maciej Adam Madalinski Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the European Union Delegation to Kazakhstan. “Being one of the most important providers of vaccines, UNICEF has a large humanitarian aid warehouse, located in Copenhagen. The European Union partners with UNICEF to ensure that EU-funded humanitarian aid reaches all regions of Kazakhstan and supports the efforts of the Ministry of Healthcare of Kazakhstan to save lives”.
The provision of over 1 ton of medical supplies to the Kazakhstan’s healthcare facilities is only a part of overall EU-UNICEF joint response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Kazakhstan. To mitigate its socio-economic impact, UNICEF jointly with its partners, including the EU, supports the most vulnerable populations and families with children in key areas such as education, child protection and health.
Note for the editors
Back in April and May 2020, during the first phase of the COVID-19 quarantine in Kazakhstan, UNICEF in cooperation with UNESCO, Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan organized a series of special webinars for multi-graded schools staff members. About 3,000 staff from all regions of Kazakhstan and medical personnel acquired knowledge on how to protect children and prevent the COVID-19 spread during this quarantine period and after the reopening of schools. In April 2020, jointly with the National Centre for Mental Health of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Kazakhstan UNICEF launched a special website (https://covid-19.mentalcenter.kz) to give information and serve as a platform for individual online counselling services meeting the emerging needs of population for psychological assistance and support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Helping to prevent further transmission of the COVID-19 in remote areas among children, in September 2020 UNICEF procured sanitizers and thermo scanners and delivered them together with the information and education materials to all rural remote schools in Kazakhstan. UNICEF also provided training webinars on infection prevention and control for specialists in the health and education sectors, including multi-graded schools and non-governmental organizations.
In July 2020, the European Union has launched a comprehensive EUR 3 million Central Asia COVID-19 Crisis Response solidarity package, addressing the needs of Central Asian countries with a primary focus on Kazakhstan. It is a part of the EUR 124 million solidarity package, mobilised by the European Union for the Central Asia region in the context of the Team Europe global response to COVID-19. Implemented by the World Health Organization the 2 years-long CACCR programme will provide support to mitigate the current outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also contribute towards longer-term resilience of the national health systems of the Central Asian countries by increasing their capacities to respond to similar public health threats, should they occur in the future.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org. Follow UNICEF Kazakhstan on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
The European Union is made up of 27 Member States who have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 60 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. The EU is collectively is the world's biggest donor of humanitarian aid. It helps millions of victims of conflict and disasters every year. For more information about the EU activities in Kazakhstan please visit the EU Delegation to Kazakhstan website and follow its social media pages on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
Pulse oximeters are medical devices that monitor the level of oxygen in a patient's blood and alert the health-care worker if oxygen levels drop below safe levels, allowing rapid intervention. These devices are essential in any setting in which a patient's blood oxygen levels requires monitoring like operations, emergency and intensive care, and treatment and recovery in hospital wards.
Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid used in a wide range of conditions for its anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant effects.
It was tested in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in the United Kingdom’s national clinical trial RECOVERY and was found to have benefits for critically ill patients.
According to preliminary findings shared with WHO (and now available as a preprint), for patients on ventilators, the treatment was shown to reduce mortality by about one third, and for patients requiring only oxygen, mortality was cut by about one fifth.
More on dexamethasone can be accessed here.
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