Talking points delivered by Ms. Yuki Suehiro, Chief of Health, Nutrition and HIV, UNICEF on the handing over of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

29 June 2022
UNICEF hands over Personal Protective Equipment from the German Government to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
unicefsierraleone/2022/Davies
UNICEF Chief of Health and Nutrition hands over Personal Protective Equipment from the German Government to the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

On behalf of the United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF), I bring you greetings from the UNICEF Representative, Dr. Suleiman Braimoh, who is unavoidably absent here today.

It is a privilege and a pleasure to officially handover this consignment of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which was procured with funding from the Government of Germany, and which is now being received by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone is one of 49 countries, which has benefited from the Government of Germany’s generous contribution of about US$23million (25 Million Euro), earmarked for the procurement of PPE for frontline health workers and vaccinators as part of COVID-19 response.  The consignment received in Sierra Leone consists of 367,500 masks, 710,750 gloves, 25,000 gowns, 32,500 face-shields, 11,500 coveralls, 1,000 boots, and 500 goggles with a total value of nearly US$ 500,000.

UNICEF appreciates the solidarity being shown by the Government of Germany to support current efforts to tackle COVID-19 in Sierra Leone and to provide safety and protection to frontline health workers as they perform their duties during this outbreak.

We have come a long way since March 2020, when the index case of COVID-19 was announced in Sierra Leone. While resounding strides have been taken to minimise infections and fatalities due to COVID-19, we have also witnessed firsthand, the unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted delivery of essential services and continues to affect lives and disrupt livelihoods.

In addition to the medical impact of this pandemic, we have also seen devasting socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, which are now compounded by the Russia-Ukraine War’s effect on fuel and other essential commodities.  These current global events are causing more hardships and stress, especially on the most vulnerable segments of the populations – including children. 

This generous contribution from the Government of Germany is therefore timely and appropriate as it helps in consolidating to bring the curtain down on this pandemic.

With global high demand for PPE during this response, it is only the right thing for all of us to give ongoing attention to make PPEs available for our health workers.  The availability of PPE is also crucial in protecting the wider health services and to ensure that lives are not unnecessarily lost due to non-COVID-19 health causes.

Throughout this pandemic, UNICEF has been on the ground across the country, and we have witnessed the admirable resilience and courage of health workers.  For this hard work to continue and to break the possible chain of infection at health facility level, health workers need an ongoing supply of the right form of protection against infection.

In a country like Sierra Leone where maternal and child mortality is high and preventable illnesses such as malaria, acute respiratory illnesses and diarrheal diseases are still responsible for nearly half of under-five deaths, any disruptions on essential health and nutrition services will have a far-reaching detrimental effect of the population.

In conclusion I wish to reaffirm UNICEF’s commitment to working hand in hand with the Government of Sierra Leone’s COVID-19 prevention and response efforts across the board.  Since the COVID-19 outbreak in Sierra Leone, UNICEF has procured most of COVID-19 supplies on behalf of the Government, including PPEs, IPC supplies, drugs, oxygen delivery and other medical equipment and commodities, as well as non-COVID health and nutrition supplies such as vaccines, nutrition therapeutic supplies, and the country’s Free Health Care drugs.

UNICEF has further advocated for and supported the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS) in sustaining access and demand for quality essential health and nutrition services. This has been through the development of the guidance documents, capacity building, provision of supplies and equipment, and social mobilisation.

UNICEF also appreciates and welcomes the partnership with the Government of Germany in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Just last month, Sierra Leone received 345,600 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines from the Government of Germany through the COVAX Facility.

UNICEF values and promotes ‘partnership’ in all aspects of our work toward the realisation of children’s rights and looks forward to fostering more relationships with the Government of Germany in future.

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Media contacts

Tapuwa Loreen Mutseyekwa
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Sierra Leone
Tel: +232 76 100 532
Tel: +232 76 601 310

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