WALES is giving PPE to Namibia to help the global fight against COVID-19.
Over £7m worth of masks, gowns and hand sanitizer, which is not needed in Wales are being donated and a further £500,000 grant is being given for oxygen equipment and nurse training.
Namibia is currently experiencing its third wave of the pandemic and this third surge has exposed the critically insufficient health infrastructure in Namibia.
With roughly similar populations, the two countries have enjoyed a longstanding relationship. Wales has a strong link with Namibia, supporting work to tackle poverty and assisting the health services during the pandemic.
The kit includes over 1.1m face masks, 500,000 gowns, 100,000 protective aprons and over £1m worth of hand sanitizer.
Wales will also donate £500,000 for essential oxygen equipment and nurse training through the Welsh Government’s Wales and Africa programme.
Namibia has a severe problem with oxygen supply and a lack of personnel with the skills to deliver oxygen to save the lives of the seriously ill.
The equipment will be donated through Cardiff University’s Phoenix Project and follows a grant earlier this year of £125,000 given to promote awareness of the need for coronavirus vaccinations in Namibia.
Professor Kenneth Matengu from the University of Namibia met with the First Minister Mark Drakeford in June to report on the grant.
In the meeting Professor Matengu gave a moving account of the dreadful situation in Namibia, with University staff dying daily and the hospitals overwhelmed.
Following the meeting the First Minister asked the Welsh NHS if they had PPE kit that could be sent to Namibia.
The First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford said,
“I have heard directly from Namibia on the extremely difficult situation that they face in the battle against COVID-19.
“We have a duty to help those in need and I’m proud that Wales is stepping forward to fight the global threat of coronavirus.
“Wales will stand alongside Namibia and we will do everything we can to help them through this difficult time.”
During the pandemic NHS Wales has worked hard to build resilient supply chains and a robust PPE stockpile. Minimum order volumes meant that in some cases stocks were built up beyond that now needed to protect Wales, providing an opportunity to support partner countries in Africa.
Professor Judith Hall of Cardiff University and Phoenix Project Lead said:
“Wales and Africa, Welsh Government’s international development programme led by Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt, is a remarkable project and an exemplar of its kind for the world. The Phoenix Project is delighted to be delivering the PPE donation and managing the Oxygen grant on behalf of the Welsh Government. Namibia has a serious problem with oxygen supply and a lack of personnel with the skills to deliver oxygen to save the lives of those with severe COVID-19. These donations will make a huge and sustainable difference to the people of Namibia and in the short term, thousands of lives will be saved.”
The Phoenix Project works with agencies in Namibia on health promotion, poverty reduction and environmental projects.