Amidst an upsurge in COVID-19 cases in Georgia, UNDP provided USD 99,000 worth of masks, gowns and other protective gear to the Government to equip 8,000 public-sector workers who need to stay safe while performing their duties.
The supplies will be distributed to personnel of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture (MEPA), the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC), as well as to municipal staff in all regions of Georgia who continue to perform their duties despite the new restrictive measures imposed on 28 November to fight the spread of the virus.
The protective gear was transferred to the Administration of the Government today by UNDP Head Louisa Vinton at a socially distanced ceremony hosted by Lela Akiashvili, the Prime Minister’s Advisor on Human Rights and Gender Equality, and attended by MIA Deputy Minister Nino Tsatsiashvili, MEPA Deputy Minister Nino Tandilashvili and Otar Namicheishvili, Head of the Finance-Economic Department at NCDC.
The equipment provided by UNDP today includes 15,000 face masks, 3,000 face shields, 3,500 protective gowns, gloves, disinfection barriers, disinfectants and hand sanitizers. The aim is to ensure that at-risk public-sector workers outside the medical system enjoy physical protection as they undertake vital client-facing responsibilities. Earlier in the pandemic, UNDP provided the United Water Supply Company with protective gear for around 1,000 frontline staff responsible for maintaining municipal water supplies.
“Working from home is just not a possibility for thousands of public-sector workers,” said Vinton. “Our efforts are dedicated to ensuring that national and municipal civil servants can continue to deliver essential services to their clients and their communities while reducing the risk of infection.”
Today’s deliveries are part of a USD 1 million UN joint programme designed to support Georgia in mitigating the consequences of the pandemic. It is funded by the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund and implemented by UNDP jointly with UNICEF and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
Other UNDP initiatives supporting the COVID response include equipping municipal shelters for elderly and homeless persons; providing supplies to vulnerable internally displaced persons living in 100 collective centres; distributing 23,000 locally produced face shields to civil servants and medical personnel in 64 municipalities; providing hot meals and home care services to 5,715 fragile elderly persons living in remote locations; installing GPS-equipped dashboards at the 144 COVID-19 emergency call centre; providing agricultural inputs to 500 women-headed households seeking to expand their farms as a COVID coping strategy; and delivering hygienic, sanitary and medical commodities to healthcare facilities that serve conflict-affected communities, including ten shipments of urgent supplies to the Abkhazia region.
Funding for UNDP activities has come from all its development partners: Austria, Denmark, the European Union, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US Agency for International Development (USAID).