A million face masks distributed across Africa

A first delivery of medical supplies from the World Health Organization (WHO) has left a new regional distribution hub in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to be distributed to countries around the continent.

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World Food Programme@WFP

#COVID19 First UN solidarity flight carrying vital medical supplies to African nations departs 📍Addis Ababa.

The @WHO cargo transported by WFP includes face shields, gloves, goggles, gowns, masks, medical aprons, thermometers and ventilators.

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The cargo includes one million masks, goggles, gloves, gowns and other protective gear for health workers, as well as ventilators for patients, says WFP.

It will be distributed to Djibouti, Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia and Tanzania and then on from those hubs to “as many countries as possible”, Reuters news agency quotes WFP spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs as saying.

There’s hope that these supplies have come just in time, according to the Director of the Africa for the Centre for Disease Contol John Nkengasong.

“The medical supplies are timely as the continent still has a window of opportunity to fight the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said in a statement.

The cargo was brought in by Ethiopian Airlines, which has suffered from a huge fall in passenger numbers.

Fitsum Abadi, the company’s managing director of cargo and logistics services, is quoted as telling AFP news agency that Ethiopian Airlines plans to play a “major role” in Africa’s fight against coronavirus as the Bole International Airport will be used as a distribution hub until at least the end of May.

But he said this would not make up for the fall in passenger revenue.

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