PESHAWAR: On Wednesday, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination (MoNHSRC) distributed nine metric tons of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers thanks to a $500,000 grant from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and technical support from Unicef.

Ten kinds of protective equipment from the shipment were given to doctors, nurses and other medical staff working in five major health facilities of the Capital Territory Area as the country continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, says a press release.

“We are fully committed to helping Pakistan manage the impact of COVID-19 and continue to work closely with the government and development partners to enable this,” said Xiaohong Yang, ADB’s Country Director for Pakistan.

“The supplies distributed through our partnership with Unicef will provide vital protection to frontline health workers and patients in their time of urgent need. We will continue to work with Unicef help strengthen Pakistan’s immediate public health response, address the needs of the pandemic and enable the country to move towards economic recovery as quickly and safely as possible.”

“I would like to thank the Asian Development Bank for its generous donation of critical emergency supplies. It will help front-line workers deal with the pandemic and support the Government of Pakistan’s enduring efforts to reduce the transmission of the virus,” said Ms Aida Girma, Unicef Representative in Pakistan.

The surgical masks, N95 masks, gloves, goggles, coveralls, surgical gowns, disposable shoe covers, disposable caps, disposable gowns and face shields were distributed to staff at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Polyclinic, National Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, Federal Government Hospital and Capital Development Authority Hospital. More will be distributed to staff working in Track, Trace and quarantine teams across Islamabad in the coming days.

“In addition to the risk to human lives and livelihoods, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the provision of essential services to women and children, including immunization services and other essential maternal and children health services. Unicef commends the leadership and the commitment of the Government of Pakistan, front-line workers and partners for the resumption, last week, of polio outbreak response activities after a four-month suspension due to the pandemic. Providing front-line workers with protective equipment not only helps reduce the transmission of the virus but enables them to provide vulnerable children with such critical services.”

Since the onset of the outbreak, Unicef has supported Pakistan’s response to COVID-19. This includes raising awareness on the risks associated with COVID-19 and how people can best protect themselves from being infected and transmitting the disease; supporting infection prevention and control in health care facilities and communities; providing psychosocial support and online education; and providing and coordinating procurement services to ensure the availability of vaccines and devices.