The latest UNICEF shipment of medical supplies for health workers, weighing more than 12 tons, was delivered to the Government of China in Shanghai today to support its response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak.
The 100 cubic meter consignment, procured by UNICEF from Germany, includes masks, protective clothing, goggles, medical gloves, thermometers, sample collection kits, and hand sanitizers, to help bridge the gap of essential supplies required for those working to curb the virus. The supplies will be dispatched to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak since the end of December 2019, and other regions in Hubei Province.
The latest shipment brought the total worth of UNICEF-donated supplies to nearly USD 1 million, with a combined weight of more than 30 tons. The first batch of supplies arrived in Wuhan on 30 January, while the second batch was delivered to Beijing just days after.
“With tens of thousands being treated for COVID-19, there are still shortfalls in supplies among health workers in China. UNICEF is helping bridge the immediate gap by providing personal protective equipment and medical/hospital equipment. We are here with China every step of the way to help address the outbreak,” said Cynthia McCaffrey, UNICEF Representative to China, upon handover of the supplies to the Government of China at the Pudong International Airport in Shanghai.
In addition to providing emergency supplies, UNICEF is also working with the World Health Organization, the National Health Commission and other partners to strengthen risk communication and tackle misinformation so that children, pregnant women and their families know how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Working alongside the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF helped develop online training modules for health workers across the country on the prevention and treatment of the disease. A set of frequently asked questions and health guidance for pregnant women and children were also developed and circulated.
UNICEF is also partnering with the Department of the Protection of the Rights of Youth under the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China to provide mental health and psychosocial support to adolescents who have been staying at home over recent weeks, with school reopening postponed due to the outbreak.
“UNICEF is working with government and UN partners to equip people with information that helps them stay healthy and stay safe,” said McCaffrey. “With health workers and other people in related areas, parents and children themselves, we are promoting healthy behaviours and strengthening public health capacity in communities across China.”
In addition to meeting children and women’s immediate needs, UNICEF is looking at the outbreak’s wider implications, focusing on the safe delivery of essential health and social services, education, child protection services, as well as psychosocial support and stigma prevention for affected children and families.