The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities not only as a health crisis in the short term, but as a devastating social and economic crisis over the months and years to come.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) received a shipment of COVID-19 test kits and other medical supplies procured by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the 24th of February, 2021, in Abuja, Nigeria.
The medical items are meant to support the continued fight against the pandemic which continues to increase in West Africa, necessitating urgent essential medical supplies to strengthen national capacities to cope with increasing cases.
Valued at $14,154,756 million, these medical supplies include 549,600 test kits containing sample collection items and reagents, all of which will enhance capacities of frontline responders providing care and treatment to people impacted by the virus as well as support the management of COVID-19 cases. In addition, 550,000 Qiagen extraction kits have been procured to increase testing capacity and early detection.
The supplies were handed over to ECOWAS at an event attended by high-ranking officials of the United Nations (UN), the West African Health Organization (WAHO) and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja, Nigeria.
Receiving the items, H.E Jean Kassi Brou, the President of the ECOWAS Commission said:
“As we take delivery on this second batch of medical supplies, I would like to remind us of the role that solidarity, commitment and trust play in strengthening partnerships and ensuring no one is left behind. Therefore, I would like to commend the work and commitment of the UNDP leadership and staff for securing these much needed critical medical supplies and equipment”
A first consignment of equipment had already been handed over to ECOWAS/WAHO in May 2020 and distributed to Member States in the region.
“We must rally all efforts to strengthen the capacity of ECOWAS Member States to stem increased infections and treat cases, so that countries of the region can get back to work on defeating poverty and attaining the global Sustainable Development Goals”, stated Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, the Assistant Secretary General and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, at the event.
Lauding the existing collaboration between the UNDP and the regional community Professor Stanley Okolo Director General of WAHO remarked: “We welcome this
fantastic support from UNDP, which will go a long way towards strengthening the region’s capacity to respond to the ongoing second wave of Covid-19 pandemic. It is clear evidence, if any was needed, of UNDP’s commitment to supporting LMICs in dealing with the financial demands of procuring critically needed medical materials to fight the pandemic whilst at the same time, procuring vaccines in order to accelerate the reopening of our economies”.
UNDP has been supporting the pandemic response through risk communications and community engagement, infection prevention and control, epidemiology/surveillance and management of coronavirus cases. In addition, UNDP supports income-generating opportunities for people whose livelihoods are most at risk through cash transfers and efforts to help restore supply chains disrupted by the crisis.