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A real friend is one that walks in when others walk out. This saying became a reality when UNFPA Eswatini, in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 on healthcare worker, presented Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Resource Mobilisation Committee directed to the Ministry of Health on the 9th of April 2020.

The equipment, worth E220 000, was announced by United Nations Resident Coordinator Nathalie Ndongo-She, during the UN’s support presentation to Government’s COVID-19 Response. The Resident Coordinator said,

There is an in-kind support from UNFPA comprising 500 overalls, 1000 disposable gowns, 500 aprons, 1000 surgical masks and 650 N95 Face masks to be donated to the Ministry of Health.

The delivery of the PPE to support health facilities, is in line with the recently celebrated World Health Day, where Executive Director Dr Natalia Kanem pronounced the need to prioritise the safety of healthcare workers. UNFPA Eswatini Acting Head of Office Margaret Thwala-Tembe confirmed the purchase and clarified that it is intended for health facilities, maternity wards in particular.

Margaret Thwala-Tembe, who is also a midwife by profession, further expressed the importance of ensuring the safety of health workers for the efficiency of response to the global pandemic. The Acting Head of Office emphasizing the Executive Director's message, said.

Our priority is protecting the most vulnerable groups; pregnant and lactating women, young girls and people with disabilities. However nurses and midwives, as our frontline healthcare workers, require much protection as they risk their own lives to save those they serve.

At the time of making the donation, the country had 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with only one of them being a healthcare worker. The number has since risen to 14. The support was presented to the resource mobilisation committee, in company of the parliament’s members of the health portfolio committee. Speaking during reception, Dr Phil Mnisi, Chairman of the committee, spoke highly of the significance of the efforts as a contribution towards timely response to the pandemic.

This donation is indeed a worthy cause, may God bless you. It will go a long way in the fight against the pandemic.

They say lightening doesn’t strike the same place twice, but UNFPA does. In recent COVID-19 response related event, the Eswatini CO supported the printing of 50 000 Z-Cards on Corona Virus. These were also delivered to the Ministry of Health’s Health Promotions Unit as Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material to empower the different target groups nationwide to curb the spread of COVID-19.

UNFPA in Eswatini continues to work hand-in-hand with the government by supporting response activities including technical assistance under sectors: Health and Nutrition, Social Protection Education and Coordination partnering with the Ministry of Health (MoH) Ministry of Education and Training (MoET), Deputy Prime Minister’s Office (DPMO) and the National Disaster management Agency (NDMA) amongst others.