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28 August 2020, Tanzania – As part of its commitment to support the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar to maintain uninterrupted essential and lifesaving reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services and information – and to ensure that frontline health workers are protected as they deliver these services – the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Tanzania has handed over 300 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits. The kits worth $35,143 were donated by Global Affairs Canada as part of the GRREAT (Girls Reproductive Health, Rights and Empowerment Accelerated in Tanzania) Project and include surgical masks, N95 masks, face shields, eye googles, long-sleeve gowns, surgical and non-surgical gloves, hand sanitizer, and liquid antiseptic.

After receiving the PPE, Ms. Halima Maulid, Deputy Principal Secretary, Ministry of Health, Zanzibar, expressed her sincere thanks to UNFPA for its continued support to strengthen the health system in the isles, particularly in the delivery of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health care and said:  “You have been supporting us for many years and are still working with us to save the lives of women and children of Zanzibar.”

UNFPA is working with the Government of Zanzibar to ensure that essential services continue during these challenging times and that health workers who are saving the lives of others are also protected.  The Ministry of Health will distribute the PPE to all health facilities across Zanzibar as soon as possible as there are already severe shortages of certain PPE items, including gloves.

In addition to the PPE kits, UNFPA has provided Dignity Kits to address the immediate hygiene and protection needs of women and girls in quarantine during the COVID-19 outbreak, in coordination with the government. These kits contain items such as sanitary pads, underwear, antibacterial soap, and washing powder, essential for women and girls to maintain their personal hygiene.

Looking to the future – as the global pandemic evolves – UNFPA will continue to support efforts to accelerate progress towards national and global commitments to improve maternal and child health outcomes in Zanzibar and the Tanzania mainland. UNFPA has provided financial assistance for the renovation of the maternity ward at Kivunge Hospital, scheduled to open next month, which will increase access to quality care for rural women living in the north of Unguja Island, Zanzibar, in addition to support to procure a boat ambulance in Zanzibar – the first of its kind in the region – both with the support of Global Affairs Canada.