Boost for Covid-19 frontline workers

Boost for Covid-19 frontline workers

MASERU-LESOTHO’S Covid-19 frontline workers on Tuesday received a timely boost when they received 100 000 facemasks to fight the pandemic.
The donation was made by the UN Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries and the Organising Committee of World Eco-Design Conference (WEDC).

The masks will protect key workers such as medics, the police and border control staff from Covid-19 and are intended for use whilst local production is being ramped up.
“Covid-19 is a global pandemic severely impacting every community and requiring action from each individual. In Lesotho we are proud of those serving on the frontline to help protect communities,” Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu said.

The masks were presented to the government by the UN Resident Coordinator in Lesotho Salvator Niyonzima on Tuesday.
Both organisations have recently formed a joint venture which supports the world’s least developed countries to develop industrial design through south-south cooperation.

Mokhuthu said the donation will help frontline workers continue their work with increased protection, whilst domestic manufacturing is being scaled up.

The Chief Executive Committee of National Covid- 19 Secretariat (Nacosec), Thabo Khasipe, said the donation will go a long way in ensuring that front-line workers on whom we all depend, work under the safest conditions, as they continue to step directly into Covid-19’s path to support the afflicted and help curb the spread of the virus.

“The provision of these masks is a great step towards meeting the immediate health needs of the people of Lesotho. The UN Technology Bank is committed to forming partnerships that can respond quickly and efficiently to Covid-19, ensuring strong and sustainable health systems,” Joshua Setipa, the Managing Director of the UN Technology Bank, said.

Ying Fangtian, President of the WEDC, said local production of health technologies remains vital to fighting Covid-19, as well as for the post-Covid-19 recovery.
“WEDC aims to promote integration of design, ecology, and society as well as sustainable development worldwide, including in developing and least developed countries,” Fangtian said.

“The United Nations Technology Bank, World Eco-Design Conference and Lesotho Government have joined hands to fight the pandemic,” he said.
“This PPE equipment will serve to provide relief to where it is critically needed in Lesotho. It is my sincere hope that the government of Lesotho will defeat this pandemic soon.”

The World Health Organisation recommends the use of facemasks as an essential preventative and mitigation measure against Covid-19.
Lesotho was the last country to record a case of Covid-19 on the African continent.

Plans to scale up local manufacturing of PPEs in the Kingdom are currently underway but in the meantime the demand for protective gear persists.
Transactions facilitated by the UN Technology Bank under its Tech Access Partnership initiative, for local manufacturing of PPE, are scheduled to be concluded in the coming weeks with three Basotho owned companies, producing for the local and regional markets.

Such local production of PPE will not only aid in the fight against Covid-19 but will also improve cost effectiveness and boost job creation.
In May this year the UN Technology Bank launched the Tech Access Partnership, as part of a UN coordinated approach to help countries like Lesotho develop local manufacturing expertise and capabilities for health technologies.

In partnership with the UNDP, UNCTAD and WHO, the Tech Access Partnership helps put those seeking access to lifesaving health technologies in touch with manufacturers and partners who can share information, technical expertise and resources to scale up production of these tools in the country.

The Tech Access Partnership contributes not only to increasing countries’ capacity to fight Covid-19, but also reduces reliance on global supply chains, boosting resilience and underpinning sustainable health systems for the future, in line with Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Lemohang Rakotsoane

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