Algeria’s Health ministry, the Delegation of the European Union (EU) in Algeria and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are implementing a €43 million (US$50 million) agreement signed in December last year to support the Algerian Government’s efforts to curb the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country and mitigate its impact.
The project “European Solidarity Response to COVID-19 in Algeria” will provide public health facilities with medical equipment, COVID-19 testing kits and protective gear for healthcare workers. The first shipments of testing kits received this week will be distributed to health facilities by the publicly administered Central Pharmacy of Hospitals and Pasteur Institute Algeria, which coordinate the project on behalf of the Health Ministry.
“We do appreciate this European solidarity gesture towards Algeria,” said Algerian Health Minister, Pr. Abderahmane Benbouzid. “This initiative provides valuable support to our health care system and to the efforts that national authorities have been deploying over the past several months to address this global pandemic and its multiple consequences”, he added.
The EU Ambassador to Algeria hailed the materialization of this partnership: “This solidarity initiative is a sign of the friendship between Algeria and the European countries”, said Mr. John O'Rourke. “It provides concrete material support for medical personnel and patients. Together, we are stronger against the pandemic.”
The European Solidarity Response will be implemented through a triangular cooperation involving the Delegation of the European Union in Algeria, UNDP Algeria, and the Health Ministry. UNDP was selected as implementation partner, because of its large network of suppliers and extensive global procurement expertise, which will enable UN organization to procure equipment with great flexibility, at competitive prices and in compliance with international standards of transparency and quality.
“We are very appreciative of the trust of the Algerian Government and the European Union in the United Nations System, and UNDP in particular, in selecting us to implement this great European solidarity initiative in the framework of the strategic partnership that binds us,” said UNDP Resident Representative in Algeria, Ms Blerta Aliko. “UNDP is responsible for implementing a comprehensive and integrated response of the UN system, using an approach that offers holistic, multi-theme “preparedness, response and recovery” solutions and that takes into account all the challenges related to this pandemic,” she added.
To date, the Project purchased and delivered 400,000 antigenic tests, 20,000 PCR tests and two covid testing devices. In addition to the purchase of equipment, the «European Solidarity Response to Covid-19 in Algeria» also includes the training of 3,000 health practitioners (doctors, nurses, technicians), and a communication campaign to raise awareness about COVID-19 protection measures and vaccination, in collaboration with civil society.
The EU is also one of the largest donors to the UN Covax mechanism, through which Algeria will benefit from a first allocation of 2.2 million doses of vaccine. In addition, the European Commission is working with its Member States to set up a mechanism that would allow the sharing of vaccine doses acquired under the Early Purchase Agreements with world producers.