UN and the World Bank present essential personal protective equipment to the Lesotho Government in support of the fight against COVID-19
25 August 2020
The United Nations (UN) in Lesotho today handed over a shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-19 diagnostics and patient management equipment to the Government of Lesotho through the Minister of Health, Honorable Motlatsi Maqelepo and the National COVID-19 Secretariat CEO, Mr. Thabo Khasipe, at the Ministry of health headquarters in Maseru.
The consignment includes the following:
- PPE from the UN Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries and the Organizing Committee of world Eco-Design Conference, for front-line workers
- Critical supplies specifically for midwives and nurses from UNFPA to ensure continued delivery of Sexual reproductive health and rights services (SRHR)
- Critical supplies for the COVID-19 response from the World Health Organization (WHO),
- Critical supplies for the COVID-19 response financed by the World Bank and procured by UNICEF, on behalf of the Government of Lesotho.
Despite the impact of COVID-19 on global supply chains, the UN, with logistical support from World Food Programme, through humanitarian flights, has been able to procure and deliver these essential commodities to support the Government response to COVID-19. The supplies will be critical for healthcare workers on the frontlines supporting Basotho who need critical care.
Upon handing over the equipment, the UN Resident Coordinator in Lesotho, Mr. Salvator Niyonzima, expressed solidarity and support on behalf of the UN family and said, “no one ministry or agency or donor can fight COVID-19 alone. These essential items will help equip healthcare workers and communities to protect themselves while caring for those affected by COVID-19...The UN stands ready to support the Government in its efforts to defeat the epidemic, including supporting additional procurement through the Global COVID-19 Supply Portal allowing the country to continue to procure essential supplies”.
The World Bank Country Representative, Mr. Yoichiro Ishihara highlighted that the World Bank has joined hands with other development partners to assist Lesotho to respond effectively to COVID-19 to save the lives of the Basotho people. “In addition to financing the procurement of PPE, the World Bank has been implementing US$7.5 million Lesotho COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Project to prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by COVID-19 and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness. We remain committed to helping the Government of Lesotho in its efforts to curbing the damage that can be caused by the spread of COVID-19. We appeal to all the people of Lesotho to heed guidance provided by the Government to keep safe from this pandemic”.
The Minister of Health, Hon. Motlatsi Maqelepo, thanked the UN and the World Bank for their ongoing support and noted that the cooperation between the Government and development partners in procuring the equipment has been exemplary. “On behalf of the Government of Lesotho and the Ministry of Health, and the Government of Lesotho, I would like to thank all partners involved in getting this essential equipment here today. COVID-19 requires all actors to work together in order to tackle all the challenges this pandemic presents. Today’s ceremony is a demonstration of that much needed cooperation, which I hope will continue into the future. Our biggest challenge is in building a resilient health system that is able to withstand shocks such as COVID-19. I call on all partners to work with the Government and my Ministry in building such a system”, he said.
Further, National COVID-19 Secretariat CEO, Mr. Thabo Khasipe, explained that this equipment comes at a crucial time when the country is faced with a shortage of PPE, increasing the number of Basotho testing positive for COVID-19, and a rising the death rate.
Since Lesotho recorded its COVID-19 first case in May 2020, the country has, to date, registered 1,015 cases with 472 recoveries and 30 deaths. “This donation will go a long way in ensuring that our front-line workers, whom we all depend, work under the safe conditions, as they continue to step directly into COVID-19’s path to support the afflicted and help curb the spread of the virus.”.
To avoid the risk of transmission, the WHO recommends that people should wash their hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub, cover their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
People are also encouraged to wear masks and maintain a one meter distance between themselves and others, avoid crowded places, stay home and self-isolate even with minor symptoms such as cough, headache, mild fever, until recovered, avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever or a cough, seek medical attention if one has a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and keep up to date on the latest information from trusted sources such as WHO and national health authorities.