By Komakech Nicholas
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in collaboration with the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) have donated four ambulances and essential supplies worth 1.87 million Euros (Shs 8bn) to Ministry of Health to fight the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
The donations were on Wednesday delivered by the Intergovernmental IGAD Executive Secretary, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, E.U Head of Delegation to Uganda Ambassador Attilio Pacifici and the UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Rosa Malango.
The items were received by the Minister of Health Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng and Permanent Secretary, Dr. Diana Atwine. They are to be taken to the border areas of Busia, Arua and Elegu to help in the fight against COVID-19.
The UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Rosa Malango said the IGAD region stretches over an area of 5.2 million km2 including Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda with the population over 230 million people has potential of becoming a center of excellence.
“IGAD has the potential to become a regional center of excellence to address challenges such as climate action, locusts, refugees and health threats like COVID-19. I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our congratulations to Uganda for having its UVRI recognized as a center of excellence for the African continent,” said Ms. Malango.
The IGAD Executive Secretary on his side said the ambulances and the essential supplies are meant to mitigate both the health and economic impact of COVID-19.
“Today in collaboration with the EU, UNOPS and other partners, IGAD is pleased to preside over the handing over to the Ministry of Health of Uganda ambulances and essential supplies worth 1.87 Million Euros to mitigate the health and socio-economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Gebeyehu said.
The IGAD head said the equipment including 4 advanced ambulances, Personal Protective Equipment and COVID-19 test are part of the emergency response programs are focused on the vulnerable groups.
“The EU-IGAD COVID-19 Emergency Response project therefore aims to support over 1 Million people across the project sites, focusing on the provision of health care services, WASH services, supporting quarantine and isolation centers, prevention of gender based violence and risk communication,” he said.