The European Union (EU) on Thursday announced a 7.2 billion shillings (about 67.4 million U.S. dollars) package to help tackle the health and socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in eastern Africa.
The EU said the funds will support the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional organization, in its mandate to coordinate national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda.
"The program will focus on vulnerable groups, including migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons and cross-border communities, and deliver medical equipment, including more than 8.5 million items of personal protective equipment," said the EU in a statement.
Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships, said about 430,000 people, mostly women and children, will receive necessary basic care while almost 570,000 people will receive critical water, sanitation and hygiene supplies and services, in addition to reaching more than 1.6 million people through awareness campaigns to help prevent the spread of the virus.
"The program will help mitigate the impact of the pandemic by providing coordinated, coherent, and comprehensive actions across the region," Urpilainen said.
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The Executive Secretary of IGAD, Workneh Gebeyehu, said the project will make a significant contribution to saving lives, protecting and motivating frontline health workers, as well as preventing community transmission through rapid and coordinated contact tracing and isolation.
"It will boost the remarkable efforts of national response committees in IGAD Member States to contain and control the pandemic, promote trade and protect livelihoods," said Gebeyehu.