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International Cooperation and Development

EU COVID-19 response for East Africa: first shipment of medical supplies arrives in Ethiopia

News 01 September 2020 Brussels

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Nearly five million items of protective equipment – including 3.5 million surgical masks, 35 000 face shields, 700 000 disposable respirator masks and 7 000 protective gowns – arrived in Ethiopia yesterday, to support the eight countries that together make up the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) bloc. This first shipment contains over half of all items due to be provided to IGAD. The full range of supplies will also include 70 000 test kits, eight mobile labs and 24 ambulances and will be arriving in the coming weeks.

The items are being delivered under a €60 million EU programme, part of the Team Europe global response to help partner countries face the pandemic and its consequences. The programme is being implemented in all eight IGAD countries: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. It will focus on vulnerable groups, including migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons and cross-border communities.

The programme will also enable IGAD to set up an emergency coordination unit and country-level rapid regional response teams for smooth coordination among state actors and development partners. Health services will reach more than 400 000 people, with over half a million people able to access critical water, sanitation and hygiene supplies. Among other actions that the implementing partners will be carrying out:

  • UNICEF and IOM will be leading initiatives to address gender-based violence;
  • UNOPS, which has been behind the procurement of yesterday’s equipment, will build two new quarantine facilities;
  • Trade Mark East Africa is creating safe trade zones to encourage more vulnerable and women traders to return to border trading; and
  • GIZ is working closely with IGAD to promote digital solutions for disease surveillance.

At a workshop later this week, the implementing partners will discuss how to work as a team so that the programme delivers the best possible results.

For more on the programme as a whole, read the factsheet