Unicef hands over 220 oxygen concentrators to Pakistan

Published February 6, 2021
Official says equipment will help manage moderately symptomatic patients. — AP/File
Official says equipment will help manage moderately symptomatic patients. — AP/File

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) has handed over 220 oxygen concentrators to the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination for treating patients suffering from coronavirus, birth asphyxia and complicated pneumonia.

Funded by the Asian Development Bank to the tune of $331,000, the life-saving device oxygen concentrators have been shipped to seven major cities in the country, including the federal capital, for installation in public health facilities, Unicef announced on Friday.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Director General Health Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar thanked the ADB, Unicef and all other stakeholders who have been helping the government since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country.

Official says equipment will help manage moderately symptomatic patients

“We want to use resources such as oxygen concentrators which have been provided by the ADB and Unicef in the best possible manner to treat our people suffering from Covid-19. This equipment is invaluable and will give us the capacity to manage the moderately symptomatic patients in a much more efficient manner,” Dr Safdar said.

In addition to the initial grant of $500,000 which has been utilised for acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE) and oxygen concentrators, the ADB has also provided an additional $2 million to help Pakistan strengthen its efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

These funds will be used to acquire life-saving medical supplies, diagnostic and laboratory facilities, and other critical equipment for communities affected by the pandemic.

“Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the ADB moved swiftly to support the people and the government of Pakistan in responding to the challenge,” said ADB Country Director Xiaohong Yang.

“The provision of oxygen concentrators to health centres across the country will help save lives and support the poor and vulnerable who are particularly dependent on public sector health facilities. We will continue to work closely with Unicef and other development partners to help Pakistan overcome the challenges,” she said.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in Pakistan, the ADB and Unicef have been collaborating by providing funds and technical assistance in procurement of PPE and other medical supplies to counter the spread of coronavirus in the country.

“Funds from the ADB have helped us provide the most needed assistance to the government of Pakistan in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Unicef Representative to Pakistan Aida Girma.

“Realising the importance of oxygen concentrators as life-saving devices, Unicef had earlier provided 525 oxygen concentrators worth over $1 million to the ministry.

“As the largest single vaccine buyer in the world, Unicef has a unique and longstanding expertise in procurement and logistics. Besides procurement of PPE, Unicef and its Covax partners­ — Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO and CEPI — are now procuring Covid-19 vaccine doses as the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in the world’s history. We are determined to help Pakistan acquire adequate Covid-19 vaccine at the earliest,” the Unicef representative said.

Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2021

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