85% of WHO global covid response through Dubai

DP Staff

DUBAI 17 April 2020: Dubai International Humanitarian City (DIHC) has facilitated the distribution of over 85 percent of the World Health Organisation’s ‘Global Medical Response in the Fight Against Covid-19’.

In an interview with Euronews, Robert Blanchard, WHO Representative and Team Leader for Emergency Operations, spoke about the importance of the Dubai operations and the global distribution of supplies this week.

Over one million pairs of examination gloves and surgical masks, and over 100,000 surgical gowns have been distributed so far, equalling to more than 85 percent of the WHO’s global medical commodity response to the pandemic so far.

To date, the global health body has now dispatched personal protective equipment and laboratory supplies to 64 countries through 100 shipments, to all six of the WHO regions from Dubai’s International Humanitarian City, one of the biggest humanitarian hubs in the world.

Vital to containment efforts

Blanchard told Euronews, “Being able to distribute these supplies globally so quickly is vital to containment efforts. Right now, due to limited space in terms of cargo freight, in terms of passenger flights, we’re finding it increasingly difficult to access flights to those hard to reach destinations. So right now, we’re working with the government of the UAE to distribute supplies to Africa, across Asia, and to the Middle East through charter flights.”

He added, “Our team here in Dubai has been working for the last 12 weeks non-stop, to make sure that the surgical supplies and the medical equipment get those who need it the most.”

As the World Health Organisation and Dubai’s International Humanitarian City process its 184th shipment this week containing 15 tonnes of medical supplies including PPE and laboratory materials to 31 African Nations valued at over US$500,000, the warehouse is seen as one of the biggest in the world, putting the operations in to perspective when it comes to aiding the world’s Covid-19 fight.

Commenting on this Blanchard said, “It’s amongst a network of warehouses globally, it’s part of the UNHRD system, so the UN Humanitarian Response depot has a network of warehouses across the globe. This is one of the largest, and also the UNICEF operation in Copenhagen.”

He then went on to speak about the future and the partnership between Dubai’s International Humanitarian City and the World Health Organisation, adding, “We’re building a medical logistics hub here in Dubai and we’ve grown four times the size that we were originally. I think in the future what we will see is that the science of supply chain management will be married with the science of medicine to reach our goal of protecting one billion from health emergencies.”



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