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The European Union, WHO and World Vision join hands to support Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 health response

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The European Union (EU) has announced a further EUR 2 million in funding to help Sri Lanka in its efforts to manage the pandemic. The grant, provided by the EU humanitarian office ECHO, will be channelled through the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Vision in Sri Lanka. These resources complement ongoing EU support to fight the Covid-19 and its socioeconomic consequences in Srilanka, including EUR 2 million for the health sector as well as close to EUR 4 million to revitalize the tourism industry. 

“Healthcare staff and facilities in Sri Lanka are being pushed to the limit by the pandemic,” said Michelle Cicic, who oversees EU humanitarian assistance in Asia-Pacific. “The EU and Sri Lanka have worked together to battle COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. This latest support will ensure that emergency equipment and supplies are quickly channelled to health facilities in dire need of life-saving assistance.” 

“This new grant is part of the EU’s global response to the coronavirus pandemic to ‘build back better’ and it complements our ongoing partnership with WHO in Sri Lanka,” said the Ambassador of the EU Delegation in Sri Lanka, H.E. Denis Chaibi. “The additional resources will be instrumental in improving healthcare capacity and hopefully help also preventing future surges of cases, while paying special attention to the needs of the most vulnerable people and underserved areas.”

WHO has conducted an assessment of health facilities and identified the gaps in emergency preparedness and response. In response, WHO will support the management of severe cases in 74 hospitals by providing medical equipment and supplies; enhance surveillance and rapid testing capacities with 100,000 new rapid antigen test kits and provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers to protect them from infections and ensure continuity of essential services.  

World Vision will enhance COVID-19 prevention, care and treatment capacity of the health system in four provinces. World Vision will provide equipment such as pulse oximeters, oxygen regulators, multiparameter monitors, ECG machines, nebulizers and hospital beds to 29 health facilities. In addition, it will support vaccination campaigns targeting vulnerable groups. 

“WHO appreciates the EU’s partnership supporting Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 effort,” said Dr Alaka Singh, WHO Representative to Sri Lanka. “The flexibility of the funding allows responsiveness to immediate needs. This has been seen with the supply of urgent life-saving equipment to hospitals, testing kits and protective equipment. At the same time, longer-term support continues, making important contributions to health systems’ recovery and resilience.”

“World Vision Lanka commenced its response to Covid-19 in March 2020 reaching over 500,000 people within the year,” said Dr. Dhanan Senathirajah, national director of World Vision Lanka, “Our response continued to evolve along with the needs. We have so far supported over 6,000 hospitals and care centres with essential health equipment, and with this funding, we will be able to broaden our reach and support the most vulnerable during this crucial time.”