UNICEF, with the support of Australia, has procured and delivered a consignment of urgently needed oxygen concentrators and other vital equipment to the Ministry of Health in support of Sri Lanka’s ongoing response to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Sri Lanka is currently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases with a daily average of nearly 2000 since the beginning of May. The current trajectory is putting a strain on the country’s health system which has been vital in preventing a worst-case scenario since the onset of COVID-19 in 2020.
The supplies procured with funding from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) were handed to the Minister of Health, Pavithra Wanniarachchi today by David Holly, the Australian Head of Mission in Sri Lanka, Emma Brigham, UNICEF Representative, a.i and Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, United Nations Resident Coordinator.
The items which include, 291 oxygen cylinders, 342 oxygen regulators, 2,490 masks for adults and children, and 20 fire extinguishers are going to the Western Province Level Three Base Hospital, Homagama and eight Level Two hospitals that are managing COVID-19 patients, including those who require High Dependency Care such as Oxygen therapy.
UNICEF requires US$4 million to support the government’s response to the COVID-19 situation, to procure urgent supplies, including for treatment, care for pregnant mothers and newborns and High Dependency Unit (HDU) equipment. So far, this appeal is only 20% funded.
Australia’s overall package of support to Sri Lanka for its COVID-19 response totals LKR 952 million (AUD 6.2 million) and is focused on bolstering health security, promoting social cohesion and stability for Sri Lankan communities and supporting economic recovery.