Solidarity flight transports vital medical supplies to Africa


ADDIS ABABA – The first United Nations 'Solidarity Flight' was scheduled to leave Ethiopia on Tuesday, transporting one million face masks, supplies to support surveillance and detection, and other personal protective equipment which will protect health workers and treat more than 30,000 patients across the continent, according to a UN organisations press release.

  The cargo from the World Health Organization (WHO) is being transported by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and also includes face-shields, gloves, goggles, gowns, masks, medical aprons, thermometers, and ventilators.

  There are also a large quantity of medical supplies donated by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Jack Ma Foundation Initiative to reverse COVID-19 in Africa. The African Union, through the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), is also providing technical support and coordination for the distribution of the supplies.

  John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa CDC, said: “the medical supplies are timely as the continent still has a window of opportunity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Collective and fast actions as exemplified by the Solidarity Flight are therefore critical.”

  “The Solidarity Flight is part of a larger effort to ship lifesaving medical supplies to 95 countries,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “I would like thank the African Union, the governments of UAE and Ethiopia, the Jack Ma Foundation and all our partners for their solidarity with African countries at this critical moment in history."

   “The African Union will continue to provide the coordination needed as well as resources to ensure that our Member States are able to meet the need for healthcare services during this pandemic,” said said Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

  The press release from the WFP and WHO also extended their thanks to the Government of Ethiopia, which helped the WFP set up the Addis Ababa Humanitarian Air Hub, as part of the COVID-19 response, as well as for ensuring medical evacuations for humanitarian responders.