The Government of Finland has committed €2 million (US$2.2 million) to support the Government of Iraq's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq.
The funds will be used to support UNDP Iraq's COVID-19 response package, which is being implemented under the umbrella of UNDP Iraq's Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS), established to repair critical infrastructure and services damaged by ISIL.
Measures to combat the virus under the COVID-19 response package include increasing the testing capacity of laboratories, providing personal protective equipment to healthcare workers, increasing the number of isolation wards, and undertaking assessments to establish post-COVID-19 recovery strategies.
Focusing on the most vulnerable communities in Iraq, activities will be rolled out in hospitals selected by local authorities in the underserved areas of Anbar, Basra, Diyala, Dohuk, Karbala, Kirkuk, Najaf, Ninewa and Salah Al-Din.
UNDP Iraq's Resident Representative, Zena Ali Ahmad, said:
"While the entire country is impacted by the emergence of COVID-19, it's the vulnerable communities - including displaced communities, people living with a disability, women, and the elderly - who will carry most of the burden. We're extremely grateful for Finland's support which will help us target these vulnerable communities."
Finland's Ambassador to Iraq Mr. Vesa Häkkinen (pictured), added:
"Iraq is facing a multitude of challenges as it recovers from a long conflict. Finland wants to support the stability of Iraq and to strengthen its preparedness and response to COVID-19 emergency. UNDP is in the frontline supporting Iraq's national healthcare system in tackling the outbreak."
Finland is one of UNDP Iraq's key partners, providing more than $12.1 million to UNDP Iraq's FFS since 2015.
(Sources: Reliefweb, Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs)