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Pregnancies and Childbirth Don’t Stop for Pandemics

UNFPA supports Personal Protection Equipment to protect frontline health workers across Rwanda.

In line with UNFPA support to the National COVID19 preparedness and response plan, on Friday 24th July, UNFPA handed over to Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC), personal protective equipment (PPE) that will help protect frontline health workers as they deliver sexual and reproductive health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The support comes as the Ministry of Health announces the enlistment of Community Health Workers in the fight against COVID-19 across Rwanda.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, UNFPA, the United Nations Sexual & Reproductive Health Agency, is collaborating with over 150 governments across the globe to enhance preparedness and response to the pandemic, as well as ensure protection of women and girls across communities.

UNFPA priorities in regards to COVID -19 revolve around 3 major interventions: Prevent COVID-19 human-to-human transmission among Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) providers through availing PPEs; ensure continuity of essential and lifesaving Reproductive Maternal Neonatal Child Adolescent Health information and services, including continuous supply chain of commodities including FP; and prevention and response to GBV that can be heightened during crisis.


Photo: Gasabo Distirct, RBC,2020

UNFPA has allocated approximately USD 250,000 to RBC in support of the National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan.   In addition, UNFPA will avail $1.6M annually for life saving medicines and contraceptives to be used in public health facilities.

The PPEs handed over to RBC, include 71,477 surgical masks -Type-II R, Non-sterile, disposable that are made in Rwanda worth USD 23,182 and 14,700 goggles – panoramic, regular nose, indirect ventilation worth USD 50,458 scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks.

“We hope that these PPEs will enhance the capacity of RBC to protect health workers: nurses, midwives and doctors to ensure that they remain safe while providing SRH services during the COVID-19 pandemic” said Mark Bryan Schreiner, UNFPA Representative to Rwanda.


Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, RBC Director General receiving surgical masks made in Rwanda handed over by UNFPA for health workers.

“The PPEs come in handy as Rwanda is working on decentralizing COVID19 services to the community level and empowering Community Health Workers to play a role in awareness and case management of the pandemic” Said Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana, Rwanda Biomedical Center Director General.

 

This equipment is one part of UNFPAs support to the Government of Rwanda in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. UNFPA’s support includes both technical and financial support across the various pillars of the National COVID19 Response Plan, including: Leadership and Coordination, Surveillance, Risk Communication and Community Engagement, Infection Prevention and Control, Case Management, among others.

“These PPEs won't only protect front liners but also boost their confidence to work harder towards ending the pandemic because they will be assured of safety.” Dr. Nsanzimana added.

The UNFPA Representative commended the great leadership and a well-coordinated response to combatting COVID-19 that the Government of Rwanda has demonstrated since the beginning of the pandemic in Rwanda.

“We applaud the strong health system in Rwanda that has proven its capacity through ensuring continuity of essential and lifesaving SRH services even during difficult times of COVID-19.” Said Schreiner.

UNFPA is committed to enhance its support to maintain a strong health system in Rwanda through continuous capacity building of frontline health workers.

“We will continue our work to strengthen the supply chain of RH commodities and maternal health life-saving medicines to ensure they reach the last mile. And we will continue to work with RBC and the Ministry of Health to ensure that women and adolescent girls continue to enjoy access to SRH, including Family Planning despite COVID-19 related challenges.” Schreiner stated.

UNFPA reaffirms its commitment to continue supporting the country to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure health and well being of the population with a particular focus on women, adolescent girls and young people. 

“RBC and UNFPA will keep working together in the area of communication to ensure effective awareness is done and each person is reached with COVID-19 awareness and prevention messages.” Dr. Nsanzimana stated.