NEW DELHI, 23 May 2021: To support countries across South-East Asia Region respond to the rapid surge in COVID-19 cases, WHO has provided over 340 MT of essential medical supplies and medicines, and continues to mobilize more to fill critical gaps.
“Thousands of oxygen concentrators, testing kits, hospital beds, tents and personal protective equipment are among critical supplies that are being shipped to countries and rushed to areas where they are needed the most,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, adding.
In India, which in recent weeks accounted for a large proportion of global cases, essential supplies have reached 26 States and Union Territories, within days of a major consignment of medical equipment landing in New Delhi.
“These supplies will help meet immediate needs while countries make long term arrangements,” the Regional Director said. Last week, 4000 oxygen concentrators, more than 120 tents, 400 medical beds for mobile hospitals, 1.2 million respirator masks, and 650,000 disposable sampling kits were flown into Delhi.
Most recently, WHO has rushed 60 metric tons of much needed diarrheal disease kits, and (personal protective equipment) PPEs to Bangladesh. The rapid deployment of these life-saving medicines and medical supplies is vital to WHO’s ongoing health emergency response efforts, Dr Khetrapal Singh said.
Earlier, WHO provided 43 metric tons of supplies including PPEs, diarrheal disease kits, tents, pulse oximeter, infrared thermometers and field deployment kits to Timor-Leste to respond to pandemic as well as floods that hit the island country last month.
Jointly assessing needs and gaps with countries in the Region, WHO is bringing in more supplies in the coming weeks for Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka.
“Collective efforts are needed to strengthen pandemic response. WHO is committed to working with all countries in the Region and supporting them in the current surge and beyond,” the Regional Director said.
With support from partners and donors, supplies worth USD 15 million have been provided to countries in the current surge.
Since early 2020, WHO has been working alongside governments to respond to the pandemic. Assisting with surveillance and monitoring, repurposing and deploying WHO staff wherever needed and most recently preparing roll out COVID-19 vaccination. Providing funding and assistance with supplies such as PPEs, laboratory reagents and other equipment continue to be among key areas of WHO support.
“This is a battle that cannot be fought alone. To curtail the pandemic, we must work together and step up to help each other within and outside our borders,” said the Regional Director.