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Fine wine matures with time, so are good relationships. That also can be said with UNFPA’s commitment to serving society’s susceptible especially pregnant women. This was evident today, as the protective equipment for maternity units was delivered to the Ministry of Health.

Margaret Thwala-Tembe, the UNFPA Eswatini Acting Head of Office, described the impact of COVID-19 to disrupt way more than people’s general health. She said,

COVID-19 has severely disrupted access to life-saving SRHR services, and hampered ability to respond to GBV, at a time where women and girls need these services most.

The Acting Head of Office, painting the bigger picture, stated that the PPE goes beyond COVID-19 prevention, but a contribution towards achieving the three zeroes by 2030. In her own words,

UNFPA is working with government and partners to prioritise women and girls, in line with our goal to end unmet need for family planning, preventable maternal deaths and gender-based-violence &harmful practices by 2030.

According to the One Vision Three Zeroes Annual Report of 2018, in the East and Southern Africa region, there women with unmet need for family planning is at 22%, maternal death is at 455 per 100000 live births while 28% of women and girls are subjected to gender based violence.

Ecstatic. That’s one word to describe Senator Lizzie Nkosi, the Minister of Health, upon receiving the consignment. In her words, Nkosi described the gesture as appropriate and linked to the significance of 2020 in the health sector.

This year is the year of the midwife. The whole world celebrates the midwife and here we are talking about COVID-19 and how exposed midwives are. We have a challenge of safety equipment supplies and are concerned with keeping healthcare workers safe as they keep the nation safe. 

The minister also alluded that COVID-19 prevention, doesn’t end with healthcare workers, but their clients too. Therefore, there is a demand of protective equipment in the health facilities to protect the health workers so that they can protect the women and babies. The ministered also dropped some pebbles with respect to other COVID-19 response initiatives the country has.

We are trying to scale up COVID-19 screening and also actively looking for cases with teams in identified hot spots. Every facility in the country will do proper triage to ensure prevention control.

Impeccable time. That’s exactly what describes the act of UNFPA in delivering the highly in-demand PPE. The ministry’s Situation Update No. 32 of April 18th, 2020 indicates an escalated need for protective equipment for health care workers as 2 of the 19 confirmed cases are health workers with no history of travel outside the country.