From left: Senior Registrar to DDG Medical Services Dr. Samantha, DDG Medical Services Dr. Lal Panapitiya, DDG Biomedical Engineering Services S.A.J. Karunathilake, Additional Secretary Medical Services Dr. Sunil de Alwis, UNICEF Sri Lanka Representative Tim Sutton, UNICEF Sri Lanka CSD Programme Manager Dr. Safina Abdulloeva, UNICEF Sri Lanka Health and Nutrition Officer Dr. D. Dhammica S. Rowel
A US $ 100,000 (Rs.18.17 million) grant from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has funded the purchase of emergency medical supplies through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in support of Sri Lanka’s ongoing response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The medical supplies and materials purchased include four suction machines, four suction apparatus, 10 infusion pumps, 12 syringe pumps, seven multipara monitors, 11 laryngoscopes and one point of care analyser.
These supplies will equip the COVID-19 isolation units in 14 hospitals across the country and were procured in direct response to the needs of the Health and Indigenous Medical Services Ministry.
The ADB grant is sourced from its Regional Support to Address the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 and Potential Outbreaks of Other Communicable Diseases technical assistance approved on February 26, 2020.
This critical medical equipment was handed over to Additional Secretary Medical Services Sunil de Alwis by UNICEF Sri Lanka Representative Tim Sutton, on March 28, at the Health Ministry in Colombo and was the result of a rapid and efficient procurement process.
“This pandemic has begun to affect every sphere of life in Sri Lanka and ADB is pleased to assist in a timely manner and help the government in its fight against this disastrous virus,” said ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka Chen Chen.
“Our partnership with UNICEF is essential for swiftly delivering this batch of medical equipment.”
Sutton said, “We thank ADB for their important grant assistance and fast response to the evolving COVID-19 situation facing Sri Lanka. UNICEF has already used this funding and our expertise to purchase important medical equipment, which will further strengthen Sri Lanka’s capacity to save lives. We applaud the actions already taken by the government and we encourage all parts of society to continue to come together and play their part. With concerted, coordinated and consistent action, together we can beat COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable in society, including children and young people.”
UNICEF is working closely with the Government of Sri Lanka to curb the spread of COVID-19 in a number of ways, including by providing technical expertise, procuring important medical supplies and developing effective public health messaging and campaigns to reach all Sri Lankans with important information. UNICEF will continue to work closely with the government, partners and other UN agencies to deliver against the needs of the country during and after the outbreak.
On March 18, ADB announced an initial package of approximately US $ 6.5 billion to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries, including Sri Lanka, as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. ADB stands ready to provide further financial assistance and policy advice down the road whenever the situation warrants.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.