DHAKA, 6 September 2020 – As part of its assistance to the Government of Bangladesh’s COVID-19 response, UNICEF has been procuring lifesaving supplies – including personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical equipment – for a value of US$12.28 million over the last 6 months.
“High-quality PPE is critical for the protection of health workers who are at the frontline of the pandemic response, while the medical equipment is essential for the lifesaving care of COVID-19 patients,” said Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Country Representative in Bangladesh.
As a global crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic has been posing historically unprecedented challenges to the procurement and delivery of essential medical supplies and equipment all over the world including in Bangladesh. They include acute shortages of the concerned supplies and equipment, substantial price hikes and the disruption of the international freight system. Despite these challenges, PPE items worth US$7.28 million have been ordered under the Government of Bangladesh-UNICEF programme of cooperation including N95 masks, surgical masks and coveralls for health workers. Medical equipment ordered is valued at US$5 million and includes oxygen concentrators, ventilators and pulse oximeters among others for the lifesaving therapy of COVID-19 patients. Of the supplies ordered so far, US$6.8 million worth of PPE items and US$2.1 million worth of medical supplies have been delivered to date.
The COVID-19 supplies procured by UNICEF are sourced both locally and offshore based on the requests by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). They are delivered to the Central Medical Stores Depot of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Services (MoHFW) for further distribution across the country.
“As a trusted partner to the Government of Bangladesh and with unique expertise in the procurement of high-quality medical supplies, UNICEF’s delivery of the PPE and medical equipment is an important contribution to the country’s pandemic response efforts,” said Professor ABM Khurshid Alam, Director General of the DGHS.
UNICEF’s procurement process is based on fairness, integrity and transparency. Its global Supply Division in Copenhagen, Denmark, ensures that international standards are met in the procurement process of all goods. UNICEF’s large-scale supply operation gives it the economies of scale and guarantees value for money as the concerned items are procured at competitive prices in large quantities. UNICEF also gives the utmost importance to quality assurance of the products it procures. All medical supplies procured by UNICEF meet WHO standards and the quality specifications set out by the MoHFW. There are both internal and external oversight mechanisms of UNICEF’s supply operations including a third party audit.
As a non-profit organization, UNICEF does not make a profit from procurement services. Any balance in transaction is refunded to the concerned government counterparts and development partners or can be used for the new procurement transactions with them depending on their decision.
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase globally including in Bangladesh, UNICEF is committed to providing continuously strong support to Bangladesh for the national response to the COIVD-19 pandemic.
UNICEF’s procurement of COVID-19-related supplies has been supported by generous contributions from the Asian Development Bank, the Global Fund, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the World Bank. Further, donors which have been generously supporting other critical components of UNICEF’s COVID-19 response include Australia, Canada, the European Union, Germany, the Global Partnership for Education, Switzerland and the United States in addition to the above-mentioned donors.