UNICEF donates personal protective equipment worth over $2.5 million to the Ministry of Health of the KRI
UNICEF has handed over personal protective equipment (PPE) worth $2.5 million to the Ministry of Health. The ceremony was held in the presence of the Minister of Health of the Kurdistan Region Government, Dr. Saman H. Barzangy, and the UNICEF Representative in Iraq, Sheema Sen Gupta.
The supplies include coveralls, face shields and goggles for use in the Kurdistan Region response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This donation adds to PPE previously supplied this year, worth $1.23 million, to support safe practices during the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in all governorates.
"COVID-19 is still among us, and we need to continue working together to avoid new transmission of the virus, putting public health at risk and hampering children's rights who suffer the secondary impact of the pandemic. These supplies attest to UNICEF's continued support for Iraq's response to the pandemic, including through protecting health workers at the front line of COVID-19 prevention and treatment" said Sheema Sen Gupta, UNICEF Representative to Iraq.
"I would like to highlight UNICEF's support in the previous years, including immunization programs, maternal and infant care, and nutrition programs, as well as COVID-19 response. These PPE requirements will enhance the Ministry of Health of the KRI's ability to respond to the current outbreak of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases", Dr. Saman H. Barzangy Minister of Health of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.
The PPE supplies are part of UNICEF's broader support for the pandemic response, and for routine immunization efforts in Iraq. These efforts are funded by donors including Germany, the United States and the European Union and includes outreach immunization that has contributed to around 20% of the total COVID-19 vaccination nationwide.
UNICEF has also supported the registration of recipients and reporting of COVID-19 vaccination in over 1,400 facilities through the provision of Wi-Fi devices, internet subscriptions, laptops and through building the capacity for data managers. Since the COVAX rollout began, UNICEF has provided over 12 million vaccination cards and trained 7,600 health care workers on vaccine management, administration, and adverse events management.
As part of the work to strengthen the cold chain system, only this year, UNICEF provided 653 refrigerators, 8 cold rooms, over 2,400 vaccine carriers, 1,200 cold boxes, 10,000 thermometers and installed 93 remote temp monitoring system in all province and district vaccine store,. From a technical perspective, UNICEF supported Ministry´s work to improve planning capacity and introduced real-time stock management system in 21 districts during 2022.
All this work contributed to increase immunization coverage for under 5 children, with Diphtheria tetanus toxoid and pertussis (DTP3) and Measles vaccination rates at over 90%, the highest level in 2 decades.
To boost up immunization efforts, by the end of the year, UNICEF and WHO will be supporting a multi-Antigen Campaign for 10 working days - 1,053 teams will be deployed to deliver more than one million doses to children in remote and inaccessible communities.
End of year efforts will be complemented by a nation-wide campaign with COVID-19 vaccination messages and prevention messages, that will be launched through TV ads and billboards.