UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has delivered 50,500 Respirators (FFP2 masks), 50,000 medical gowns, 400,000 surgical masks and 100,000 pairs of medical gloves to the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) to support front line healthcare workers.
This comes as part of UNHCR’s efforts to support the national COVID-19 response plan, complementing UNHCR’s previous contribution of 15,000 N95 masks, 160,000 surgical masks, and 380,000 units of gloves to help protect health workers working at MoHP health facilities in April 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges across the globe and has rendered refugees and asylum seekers particularly vulnerable. “In Egypt, the Government has generously offered refugees and asylum-seekers medical treatment on equal footing as Egyptians and has included them in the national vaccination plan” said Mr Karim Atassi, UNHCR Egypt Representative who added “UNHCR is pleased to contribute towards ensuring that front-line workers of the MOHP are protected at all times through donating personal protective and hygiene items.”
Cooperation between UNHCR and MoHP is strong and ongoing. The government has granted refugees and asylum seekers access to public healthcare services equal to Egyptian citizens. Egypt has also been generously including refugees and asylum-seekers in national health campaigns such as in 2018 during “100 Million Seha” campaign, aimed at detecting and eliminating Hepatitis C by 2023. Moreover, Refugee children have been included in the national anti-polio campaigns, the most recent example is the one starting on 28 March 2021.
During the last five years, UNHCR has supported MOHP with medical equipment valued at more than $4.5 million, including devices for early detection of breast tumors, devises for dialysis, medical beds, intensive care units, and respiratory devices while equipping several health facilities in various governorates to support Egyptians and refugees equally. Most recently during the Covid-19 pandemic UNHCR provided Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for frontline health workers.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNHCR has intensified its efforts to provide protection services and humanitarian aid to refugees and asylum seekers registered in Egypt, thanks to the generous support of donors, most notably from the USA, the European Union, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands, among others.
As of December 2020, Egypt hosts more than 259,000 refugees and asylum seekers registered with UNHCR from 58 different nationalities. Most refugees in Egypt are among the most vulnerable groups, as every seven out of 10 refugees are unable to meet their basic needs. With the generous support of MOHP, many refugees in need of medical support are able to access healthcare support at nominal cost.