A shipment of medical respirators and masks, protective goggles, face shields, and isolation gowns to help enable health-care workers in Azerbaijan to respond effectively and safely to the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the country on the 22nd of June.
The delivery of 168 000 personal protective equipment, funded by the European Union and procured by WHO, includes 10 000 face shields, 10 000 protective goggles, 8000 isolation gowns, 140 000 respirators. All items of equipment delivered have been checked to ensure they meet quality and safety standards for health-care workers on the frontline.
Kestutis Jankauskas, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Azerbaijan, and Hande Harmanci, WHO Representative in Azerbaijan handed over the equipment to the Ministry of Health as part of a larger assistance package to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
“Now is the time for international solidarity and leadership, not isolation. The European Union and its Member States, acting together as ‘Team Europe’ are helping to prevent, detect and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to strengthen the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood’s resilience and capacity to respond to public health emergencies”, stated Kestutis Jankauskas, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Azerbaijan.
“As COVID-19 does not recognize borders, the fight against it must be based on the principles of solidarity, mutual assistance, and the use of positive experience, and it should not limit with borders.
On behalf of the Ministry of Health, I thank the officials of the European Union and the World Health Organization and the representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and express my unequivocal confidence that the protection of human health is the noblest work,” said Deputy Health Minister Rahim Aliyev.
The Ministry of Health will ensure the supplies are distributed to medical facilities across the country.
Hande Harmanci, WHO Representative and Head of Country Office in Azerbaijan, 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,” she 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 Azerbaijan.
The funds initially will be used to meet immediate emergency needs, such as procuring essential supplies and training for health-care workers and frontline responders. 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 WHO’s ongoing support to Azerbaijan.