WHO/EU supply critical COVID-19 equipment to the Republic of Moldova

One of the largest shipments of medical respirators, medical masks, goggles and gowns –worth €1.1 million – was recently delivered to the Republic of Moldova for its health-care workers.

The 1.5 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) were funded by the European Union (EU) and procured by WHO to help health-care workers respond effectively and safely to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EU Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, Peter Michalko, and WHO Representative in the country, Dr Igor Pokanevych, handed over the equipment to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection. The ambassadors of the EU Member States were present at the event as part of the Team Europe initiative.

The shipment included 1.2 million medical masks, 348 000 N95 respirators, 16 200 goggles and 36 000 protective gowns.

This is the first consignment of supplies. A second shipment will comprise 330 000 pairs of gloves, 356 oxygen concentrators, 41 patient monitors, 40 ventilators, 215 pulse oximeters, 1500 kits for laboratory tests and 12 000 testing kits, taking the total value of the shipments to €2.8 million.

Prime Minister Ion Chicu, present at the handover event, expressed his appreciation for the “generous support offered by the EU and WHO to the Eastern Partnership countries”. He said it was additional evidence of the common front to fight COVID-19 at the regional and global levels. “On behalf of the government and citizens of the Republic of Moldova, I would like to thank the EU and WHO from my heart for this solidarity gesture.”

Mr Michalko underlined that the EU stands by the country in this difficult time. “The Solidarity for Health initiative is a concrete example of how the EU supports the Moldovan health-care system to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “We trust that the supply of medical devices and personal equipment will benefit both frontline health-care workers and Moldovan citizens.”

Generous assistance from the EU

Dr Pokanevych said, “Health-care workers are at the frontline of our response to COVID-19, placing them at higher risk of exposure to the virus. They are our heroes, but they are not superhuman”. He expressed WHO’s appreciation to the EU, without whose generous contribution the PPE delivery would not have been possible. “The equipment will substantially reduce the risk health-care workers here face in their daily work and help protect them, patients and vulnerable people from this virus,” he added.

The donation of PPE and medical and laboratory devices is part of the EU’s response to the outbreak of COVID-19. On 27 March 2020, the EU announced assistance of €30 million to help prevent, detect and respond to the pandemic in 6 countries of eastern Europe and the Caucasus, including the Republic of Moldova.

The EU funds will initially be used to meet immediate needs such as procuring essential supplies, and training for health-care workers, frontline responders and patients. In the longer term, the assistance will be used for strengthening the country’s capacity to respond to public health emergencies.