Mr. Arben Vitia, Minister of Health; Ms. Maria Suokko, UNDP Resident Representative; Chargé d’Affaires Ms. Natacha Gomes, the Embassy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg; , H.E. Christoph Weidinger, the Austrian Ambassador to Kosovo; Ms. Katharina Stocker, Director of Swiss Cooperation Office, Ms. Sandra Horina, Head of the Austrian Development Cooperation’s office in Pristina; Ms. Nanna Thue Kirsten- Embassy Counsellor from the Norwegian Embassy; and Ministry of Health and NIPHK officials were present at the handover which took place at the National Institute of Public Health of Kosovo.
The handing over of the 66,240 pipettes used for the sampling of COVID tests marks the closure of the joint efforts in providing urgently needed health products and equipment in response to the COVID pandemic over the past year. With the event, UNDP and its partners aim to convey their continued commitment to support Kosovo and its institutions as they continue to fight against the COVID pandemic and respond to its impacts.
Mr. Arben Vitia, Minister of Health, emphasized the importance of continued strong partnerships and international cooperation during the pandemic: “I am extremely thankful for these donations, especially to the representatives of Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland and Norway for being ready to support us during the COVID crisis. You have been here with us ever since the outbreak of the pandemic. For more than a year, we have witnessed how important it is to stand together. Because the virus does not know borders, ethnicity, or age. These acts of solidarity not only help us technically but also makes us feel human, connected to each other. Kosovar people are always looking forward to European values and I believe we have to keep strengthening them.”
H.E. Christoph Weidinger, the Austrian Ambassador to Kosovo, said: “As part of this project coordinated by UNDP, Austria donated 250.000 Euros last year to provide more than 13,600 test kits and today, we are pleased to be able to hand over pipettes together with our partners. We should never forget that in this pandemic, no one is safe until everyone is safe. I would like to use this opportunity and thank UNDP and our international partners for the professional implementation of the project as well as the longstanding cooperation in Kosovo.”
Ms. Natacha Gomes, Chargée d’affaires a.i. at the Embassy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in Prishtinë/Priština stated: “The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has been supporting Kosovo in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic since the beginning and in collaboration with our UN partners and other donors. I am glad to be part of this final handover of our joint efforts and would like to thank UNDP for their leadership and coordination. I also thank Minister Vitia for his continued efforts in trying to slow down the spread of the pandemic and we remain committed to supporting Kosovo in this fight, as there is still a long road ahead of us, one that we have to walk together.”
“As a long-term partner to Kosovo, Switzerland is happy to have supported Kosovo in the fight against COVID-19. In partnership with UNDP and other donors, our contribution strengthened the care and testing capacities of the health system, at a time of critical shortages of essential medical equipment. We welcome the fact that first doses of the vaccine have arrived in Kosovo through the COVAX mechanism, to which Switzerland contributes CHF 20 million and hope other shipments will follow soon” stated Katharina Stocker, Director of Swiss Cooperation Office.
Ms. Nanna Thue Kirsten, Embassy Counsellor from the Norwegian Embassy stated: “Norway is pleased to have sponsored the procurement of essential medical equipment for Kosovo during these challenging times, in partnership with UNDP and other donors. And, while the first batch of vaccines have arrived in Kosovo, the pace is too slow. While we wait for additional does, we must all contribute to preventing the spread of the virus”.
“For the past 13 months, UNDP’s focus has been very much on responding to the pandemic, assessing its impacts, and on planning the way forward for a longer-term response. The support and collaboration with the Governments of Austria, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland have been critically important for us to be able to provide the most urgently needed support. I would like to thank you for your generous financing and great partnership during these challenging times. We know that the COVID crisis is far from over and stand ready to support Kosovo and its people in responding to the crisis and its impacts,” said Ms. Suokko during the event.
A year-long Response to COVID-19 project, made possible through generous donation of the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg with USD 1.3million, the Government of Norway with USD 487,000, the Government of Switzerland with USD 469,000, the Government of Austria with USD 276,000, and UNDP with USD 241,000 made possible the purchase of: 40 mobile ventilators, 52,500 real time PCR tests, 12,000 PCR COVID-19 sample collection kits, 66,240 pipettes for COVID testing, and supported 2,491 vulnerable families with vouchers for basic household items during a period of 3 months.
Working at the heart of UN Kosovo Team, UNDP in Kosovo has been supporting the people and institutions of Kosovo to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic since the outbreak, focusing particularly on the most vulnerable. We have rapidly shifted focus, responding swiftly and efficiently and reorienting our programme to assist Kosovo’s efforts to stop the spread of the virus, helping to protect people from the pandemic and its impacts, respond during the outbreak, and recover from the economic and social impacts in the months to come.
For more information, please contact:
Burbuqe Dobranja, UNDP Communications Associate
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Danijela Mitić, Communication Associate UNDP
Phone: (038) 249 066 ext. 412; mobile: 049 720 824 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org