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35 million items of PPE donated by the Government of Ireland to five countries in sub-Saharan Africa /

Five countries in sub-Saharan Africa are to receive over 35 million items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donated by the Health Service Executive (HSE) Ireland.

The range of much-needed PPE, including face masks, gloves and protective suits, are being delivered to urban and rural health facilities across Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda in collaboration with the respective governments.

In the immediate term the items will help protect healthcare staff against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. With global shortages of PPE causing a crisis for healthcare systems at the start COVID-19 pandemic, these items will also help ensure facilities on the continent are adequately equipped now and better prepared for future outbreaks.

The cost of the shipments has been kindly supported by the Barnabas Fund and the deliveries managed by non-profit international development organisation, Crown Agents. The first two consignments, containing several million items of PPE each, have already reached Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Mombasa, Kenya. Preparations are underway for the formal handover to the respective governments for onward distribution.

Speaking about the donation, Dr David Weakliam, Global Health Programme Director, Health Service Executive Ireland, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all regions of the world and we want to show solidarity with countries facing resource challenges.  We are in a position to support these five countries in Africa with donations of PPE which we hope will protect staff and their patients from the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.”

Hendrik Storm, International CEO Barnabas Fund, also commented: “Barnabas Fund is delighted to be partnering with Crown Agents to deliver this much-needed PPE to hospitals in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. We are most grateful to the Irish Government for their generous donation of surplus PPE which is now arriving in a continent so desperately in need.”

Fergus Drake, CEO of Crown Agents, noted: “The African Continent was hit hard by the global shortages of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic. Crown Agents is proud to be driving forward action to ensure more equitable supply to countries in sub-Saharan Africa, to ensure their healthcare workers are better protected from viruses and other infectious diseases. I’m thankful to our supply chain teams who are working around the clock to ensure the PPE is safely delivered, to the Irish Government for their donation and to the Barnabas Fund for their kind support.”