About 2,600 WHO field officers were immediately deployed to support health officials in halting the spread of the pandemic. In Maharashtra, UNICEF hired experts to work on risk governance.
The UN team in India is supporting the country’s authorities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing essential supplies and its agencies are purchasing thousands of oxygen concentrators, oxygen generating plants and other essential equipment, as well as helping to set up hospital units. furniture, said the spokesman for the UN chief.
“I know you have been asking about our support for India during the current rise in COVID-19 cases,” Secretary General Antonio Guterres deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters at a daily news conference on Wednesday .
“Our team there, led by Resident Coordinator Renata Lok Dessallien, is supporting the authorities’ response to the pandemic, providing equipment and supplies, including to local governments,” said Haq.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) are purchasing equipment and supplies, including 7,000 oxygen concentrators and 500 nasal devices for oxygen delivery, as well as oxygen generating plants, testing machines COVID-19 and individual protection kits, he said.
Haq’s comment was made a day after he said, in response to a question, that the UN had offered help from its integrated supply chain if needed, but the offer was refused by India.
“We are told at this point that it is not necessary because India has a reasonably robust system for dealing with this. But our offer is valid and we are willing to help in whatever way possible, ”said Haq on Tuesday.
Haq said that WHO is also helping to create mobile hospital units and providing laboratories.
About 2,600 WHO field officers were immediately deployed to support health officials in halting the spread of the pandemic.
In Maharashtra, UNICEF hired experts to work on risk governance. The UN team also continues its campaign by highlighting the “three Ws: wear a mask, wash your hands, pay attention to the distance and stay two meters away,” he said.
According to the latest WHO data, the death toll in India has exceeded 201,000 and confirmed cases in the country reach almost 18 million.
“In India’s time of need, the UN is doing everything it can to quickly supply essential equipment and supplies to the central and state governments,” said Dessallien.
WHO said in a press release that filling critical gaps in essential medical supplies and hospital capabilities should be a top priority, as battles in India escalate in cases of COVID-19. WHO is chartering flights to bring 4,000 oxygen concentrators to help meet rising demand.
“The current rapid increase in cases of COVID-19 has put immense pressure on health systems, which have been overburdened since the beginning of the pandemic. We need to act quickly, expand the capacities of hospitals and equip them with medical supplies, most needed to save lives, ”said WHO Regional Director for Southeast Asia, Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh.
A UN News article said that the Southeast Asia region led the world in COVID-19 infections for the third consecutive week, mainly due to the situation in India.
To provide additional hospital beds and essential equipment for India, WHO is acquiring mobile field hospitals with a capacity of 20 to 30 beds, which could be installed in the most affected areas.
The capacity of beds in these field hospitals can be increased to a maximum of 50, if necessary, without affecting the infection and water and sanitation prevention and control protocols, the WHO statement added.
The agency is also providing laboratories to meet the huge demand for tests, and more than 2,600 WHO technical staff, working on various programs like polio, tuberculosis and NTDs, have been reused to support the response to the pandemic in India.
WHO is acquiring laboratory supplies, including 1.2 million reagents, to meet the huge demand and need for testing.
Khetrapal Singh added that, with a rapid increase in cases, it is important to make a good screening of people to optimize available resources, such as ICU beds. At the same time, every effort must be made to increase COVID-19 vaccination coverage, she added.
India this week completed a 100-day COVID-19 vaccination campaign, with more than 145 million doses administered.
“Regardless of the numbers we see today or the variants of the virus that may be circulating during the continuous increase, our main public health measures – test, track, isolate and treat – along with physical distance, hand hygiene, cough etiquette and masks remain our tried and tested measures to reduce transmission of COVID-19, ”she said.
Underlining WHO’s commitment to continue working with health officials at all levels, Khetrapal Singh said: “Together, we must do everything in our power to stop the current outbreak of COVID-19”.
Haq said the UN is in contact with officials in India on several levels. The Chief of Staff of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, is in contact with the Permanent Representative of India to the UN TS Tirumurti on the situation of COVID-19 in India and other officials of the system have also been in contact with authorities here in New York and on the ground.