COVID-19: UNICEF-procured 82 metric tonnes of Personal Protective Equipment arrive in Myanmar as cases increase in Rakhine State
YANGON, 28 August 2020 – Amid an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rakhine State, a total of 82 metric tonnes of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worth US$2.8 million arrived this week in Yangon. The supplies were delivered in three batches on chartered cargo flights arranged by UNICEF with the cooperation of WFP global logistics cluster, while further PPE valued at US$224,284 is on its way to Myanmar by road transport from Thailand (via Myawaddy) and China (via Muse).
These essential supplies, secured by UNICEF with strong collaboration with the Government, will be handed over to the Ministry and partner agencies for Myanmar’s ongoing COVID-19 emergency response, including Rakhine State where recently there is an increase in confirmed cases. The latest consignment follows the 20,000 COVID test kits delivered to the Ministry of Health and Sports in May and June 2020. In early September, 30,000 COVID-19 specimen carriers and 370 oxygen concentrators are also scheduled to arrive in Myanmar by sea.
With the generous support of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, and in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Sports, UNICEF has mobilized a total of USD$6.4 million since April 2020 for the procurement of essential supplies for Myanmar’s COVID-19 response activities across the country. The response activities supported include strengthening laboratory and testing capacity, disease surveillance, infection prevention and control, and support to case management facilities, as well as risk communication and community engagement activities.
In Rakhine State, UNICEF has been working closely with Government and partners to support increasing access to handwashing stations and essential hygiene supplies. Since the onset of the outbreak, an estimated 500,000 people were reached through targeted hygiene messaging. Construction of handwashing facilities was undertaken in high-risk locations of all townships. UNICEF also installed LED billboards in Sittwe Township and distributed messages in local languages for awareness about the COVID-19 pandemic. To support the resumption of immunization services, UNICEF provided operational support and training to 110 volunteers working in camps for the internally displaced. In addition, UNICEF prepositioned 600 cartons of ready-to-use therapeutic food where around 1,500 children with severe acute malnutrition received treatment.
“UNICEF scaled up its supply and logistics operations to ensure access to these essential supplies that are in high demand internationally and to ensure timely delivery despite current logistical challenges with freight transportation in Myanmar,” said June Kunugi, UNICEF Representative to Myanmar. “We must continue to fight COVID-19 together to ensure children and the most vulnerable populations are protected from the pandemic.”
UNICEF in Myanmar
UNICEF has been working with the Government and the people of Myanmar since 1950. In partnership with the Government and the civil society, UNICEF’s current focus of work aims at reducing child mortality, improving access and quality of education and protecting children from violence, abuse and exploitation.