MINISTRY OF HEALTH RECEIVES INTENSIVE CARE UNIT EQUIPMENT FROM UNICEF TO SUPPORT RESPONSE TO COVID-19 IN THE COUNTRY
Colombo, 12 July 2021- UNICEF today handed over a consignment of critical equipment to the Ministry of Health, to support the government’s response to the COVID-19 situation in Sri Lanka.The supplies include essential intensive care unit equipment such as ventilators, nebulizers, multipara monitors and pulse oximeters.
Sri Lanka is currently experiencing the third COVID-19 wave, which is putting a strain on the country’s health system which nonetheless has been vital in preventing a worst-case scenario since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.
The equipment was handed to Lakshmi Somatunga, the Additional Secretary for Public health Services, representing the Minister of Health, Pavithra Wanniarachchi by Christian Skoog, UNICEF Representative to Sri Lanka and David McKinnon, the Canadian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.
In her remarks, delivered by Ms Somatunga, Minister Wanniarachchi said, “I would like to express appreciation for the support of UNICEF and Canada for this contribution. This kind of collaboration, before and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that by working together, we can save lives and help improve services to respond to urgent needs”.
Speaking during the handover, Mr Skoog said, “Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF has supported the efforts of the government of Sri Lanka to ensure that critical healthcare is provided, especially to the most vulnerable, including women and children”. “The equipment we are providing today will boost the healthcare system, not only to respond to the current situation but also in the longer run in other areas”.
This procurement of nearly one million dollars was made possible with the contribution from Canada to UNICEF’s Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator Supplies Financing Facility (“ACT-A SFF”), a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
“Canada is happy to make this USD 1M contribution through UNICEF. As we see in this third wave, COVID-19 is far from defeated: we will be safe from the virus only when all countries are protected. Through this support, Canada is contributing not only to urgently needed equipment, but also to the strengthening Sri Lanka’s health system preparedness, which is vital for the pandemic response in the long term.”, said Mr McKinnon.
Together with development partners, UNICEF continues to play a leading role in mobilizing crucial support for the government’s response to the COVID-19 situation, especially to procure urgent supplies, including for treatment, care for pregnant mothers and newborns and High Dependency Unit (HDU) equipment.
About UNICEF Sri Lanka
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 Sri Lanka, visit www.unicef.lk