Brussels/Kinshasa/Dakar — A UNICEF shipment of 63 cubic metres of vital health supplies landed yesterday in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on a Belgian repatriation flight, co-financed by the European Union (EU).
The shipment includes oxygen concentrators, basic surgical equipment, stethoscopes, antibiotics, nutrition items, kits for midwives and items for maternal and neonatal health. The supplies will be distributed to health centres, where they are urgently needed to respond to health epidemics such as measles, cholera and malaria as well as the coronavirus. The supplies will support UNICEF's humanitarian work for children and families in DRC, as well as provide support to the preventive efforts to the coronavirus pandemic in coordination with the wider UN response.
"This an excellent example of global solidarity in these difficult times and a way to maximise our resources. At the time when the EU is working hard in getting EU citizens back from across the world, we are glad that these flights can be also be used to support our humanitarian partners such as UNICEF," said EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič.
"We are grateful for the support from the European Union and Belgium, said Director of UNICEF Supply Division, Etleva Kadilli. "Since the outbreak of COVID-19, it has remained our priority to ensure that life-saving supplies continue to reach the most vulnerable children, particularly those affected by emergencies."
"As cases of COVID-19 infections in DRC rise and the situation is becoming more critical every day, medical supplies are urgently needed to support the country's already overburdened health system to fight against COVID-19 and other health epidemics which are killing thousands of thousands of children every year," said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in the DRC.
UNICEF DRC coronavirus response is currently focused on the city of Kinshasa which is the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic in the DRC at this time. UNICEF is closely following and responding to the development of the outbreak in the country with a particular focus on health centres and maternity wards, therapeutic nutrition centres, IDP settlements, coronavirus treatment centres, entry points as well as gathering points such as transit and referral centres, temporary hosting structures or therapeutic feeding centres and in the community.
In the DRC, the EU's humanitarian aid supports the Ebola response in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, the nutritional surveillance of children and mothers, implements programmes to fight Cholera and building resilience after floods and natural disasters.
The flight to Kinshasa was co-financed by the EU at 75% via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Belgium has activated this mechanism for consular assistance to repatriate Belgian and other EU citizens from DRC.