Critical COVID-19 protective supplies delivered to frontline workers in Kingdom of Lesotho
25 August 2020
A donation of 100,000 facemasks has been handed to frontline workers in the Kingdom of Lesotho in an effort to urgently protect key workers, such as medics, police and boarder control staff from COVID-19. The protective supplies are intended for use whilst local production is being ramped up.
The masks were presented to The Government of Lesotho by Salvator Niyonzima, UN Resident Coordinator, as a donation from the UN Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries and the Organizing Committee of World Eco-Design Conference. Both organizations have recently formed a joint venture which supports the world’s least developed countries to develop industrial design through south-south cooperation.
“COVID-19 is a global pandemic severely impacting every community and requiring action from each individual. In Lesotho we are proud of those serving on the frontline to help protect communities,” said Hon Mathibeli Mokhothu, Deputy Prime Minister. “Today’s generous donation will help these individuals continue their work, with increased protection, whilst we scale up manufacturing in-country.”
The World Health Organisation recommends the use of facemasks as an essential preventative and mitigation measure against COVID-19. Lesotho was the last country to record a case of COVID-19 in the African continent. Plans to scale up local manufacturing in the Kingdom are currently underway, but in the meantime the demand for protective gear persists.
“This donation will go a long way in ensuring that our front-line workers on whom we all depend, work under the safest conditions, as they continue to step directly into COVID-19’s path to support the afflicted and help curb the spread of the virus,” Said Thabo Khasipe, CEO, NACOSEC.
Transactions facilitated by the UN Technology Bank under its Tech Access Partnership initiative, for local manufacturing of personal protective equipment (PPE), are scheduled to be concluded in the coming weeks with 3 Basotho owned companies, producing for the local and regional markets. Such local production of PPE will not only aid in the fight against COVID-19 but will also improve cost effectiveness and boost job creation.
“The provision of these masks is a great step towards meeting the immediate health needs of the people of Lesotho. The UN Technology Bank is committed to forming partnerships that can respond quickly and efficiently to COVID-19, ensuring strong and sustainable health systems,” said Joshua Setipa, Managing Director of the UN Technology Bank “Local production of health technologies remains vital to fighting COVID19, as well as for the Post-COVID-19 recovery.”
“WEDC aims to promote integration of design, ecology, and society as well as sustainable development worldwide, including in developing and least developed countries. The United Nations Technology Bank, World Eco-Design Conference and Lesotho Government have joined hands to fight the pandemic. This PPE equipment will serve to provide relief to where it is critically needed in Lesotho. It is my sincere hope that the government of Lesotho will defeat this pandemic soon", said Mr. Ying Fangtian, President of the Organizing Committee of World Eco-Design Conference."
In May this year The UN Technology Bank launched the Tech Access Partnership, as part of a UN coordinated approach to help countries like Lesotho develop local manufacturing expertise and capabilities for health technologies. In partnership with UNDP, UNCTAD and WHO, the Tech Access Partnership helps put those seeking access to lifesaving health technologies in touch with manufacturers and partners who can share information, technical expertise and resources to scale up production of these tools in country.
The Tech Access Partnership contributes not only to increasing countries’ capacity to fight COVID-19, but also reduces reliance on global supply chains, boosting resilience and underpinning sustainable health systems for the future, in line with Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.