A huge consignment of life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE), shipped by Barnabas Aid’s medical.gives initiative to Tanzania, is being deployed to protect health workers from a deadly new threat.
The cost of transporting the equipment to Tanzania and to four other African countries was paid for by medical.gives.
The consignment was welcomed on 29 September by the country’s Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu and presented by Mags Gaynor, a representative of the Irish government, which donated the equipment.
The handover came days after Tanzania was put on alert by the minister’s department against ebola. It is a highly contagious disease that claimed more than 11,300 lives in West Africa between 2014 and 16, and killed 2,280 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2018.
Medical masks, gloves, scrubs and other items included in nine 40-foot shipping containers of PPE transported by medical.gives are being issued to health staff working in areas of Tanzania deemed at the highest risk of an ebola outbreak.
Health surveillance was stepped up after neighbouring Uganda confirmed 35 infections and seven deaths from a strain of ebola for which there is no approved vaccine or drug treatment. PPE is also being issued to Tanzanian staff helping to combat Covid-19.
Around 50 million pieces of PPE, worth around $44 million, were donated to Christian hospitals in east and southern Africa by the Irish government.
Working in partnership with historic charity Crown Agents, medical.gives transported the PPE in 40 shipping containers.
“Barnabas Aid is delighted to be partnering with the Crown Agents to deliver this much-needed PPE to struggling hospitals in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe,” said Barnabas Aid’s International CEO Hendrik Storm.
“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.”
Distribution of the PPE is ongoing in Kenya and Zambia and is about to commence in Zimbabwe. The equipment will shortly be dispatched to Uganda.