GAVI (the Vaccine Alliance) has made available US$40 million to UNICEF to secure personal protective equipment (PPE), diagnostic tests, and other supplies to help 58 low- and lower-middle-income countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and to keep existing immunisation programmes running.
“This pandemic has created unprecedented market challenges, including extreme supply shortages, sharp price increases and widespread export restrictions. This important collaboration will help us to secure a crucial pipeline of quality supplies, at appropriate prices, for health workers,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.
Eight countries already approved to benefit from this initiative aimed at protecting frontline health care workers are Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi, Myanmar, Sudan, and Togo. This is critical as these workers are scarce in poorer countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO). some countries have less than one physician per 40,000 people. If one of these health care workers succumbs to COVID-19, thousands of people lose their access to healthcare services. Therefore, personal protective equipment, testing, and other supplies are essential to protect whole communities.
Thanks to this initiative, these countries will have supplies secured for them once their plans are approved and won’t be disadvantaged in the global demand and supply chains.