The Ambassador of the European Union to North Macedonia, Mr Samuel Žbogar, handed over 12 mechanical ventilators to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Nikola Dimitrov and the Deputy Minister of Health, Mr Armend Arslani to strengthen the capacity of the health-care system to fight COVID-19. The EU also provided 5,000 protective masks. This initial shipment is part of the announced 4 million Euros support from the EU to the Government of North Macedonia for emergency procurement of essential medical equipment and materials.
“This is the first consignment of the EU solidarity support for North Macedonia related to the fight against Covid-19. More will come in the next weeks. We have and will continue to support the country and its people in addressing this common challenge”, stated Ambassador Žbogar.
In accordance with the government priorities, the support from the EU will be used to procure 20 devices for mechanical ventilation, 20 intensive care monitors, 626 test kits for 31,300 tests, and close to 40,000 units of different medical equipment such as oxygen masks, filters, caterers and other materials for the healthcare system. The available funds are also being used to procure much needed protective equipment for medical workers such as 30,000 facial masks, 100,000 surgical masks, 750,000 gloves, 20,000 protective goggles and other essential personal protective materials. This constitutes the most significant international support that the country has received in combating the effects caused by the coronavirus epidemic.
“In these exceptionally uncertain times for the whole world, the concrete and especially visible assiatance from the EU as undoubteldy our biggest donor in this crises caused by the pandemic, gives a feeling of unity, solidary and security that together we can get out of this misfortune. That we are treated almost as a member state of the Union in terms of inclusion in mechanism and funds for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences, speaks not only the today’s significant donation that comes at the right moment – 12 brand new ventilators, as well as 5000 protective masks FFP2 for the medical staff, but also their overall hitherto planned support. I would like to express sincere gratitude to the EU for recognising and supporting our efforts for dealing with this common global challenge and a special thanks for giving us the feeling of belonging to the team of Europe,” MFA Dimitrov stated.
The procurement of the priority equipment and items is conducted by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), which has globally launched the emergency procurement procedures to help the countries respond to the crisis caused by the pandemic. The entire quantity of medical equipment and materials are expected to be delivered by the beginning of June 2020.
“In this first phase of the project, the Ministry of Health received 12 completely new mechanical ventilation machines that will be made available for the treatment of the most complex cases in the Clinic for Infectious Diseases and Febrile Conditions and in City General Hospital 8th September in Skopje, as well as 5,000 FFP2 protective masks that are part of the personal protective equipment of health workers”, said Deputy Minister of Health Arslani.
Apart from the support to North Macedonia for the pandemic crisis response, the European Union has secured 66 million Euros support for the country to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 and is in the process of securing additional 160 million Euros available in loans to address fiscal challenges.