TIRANA, June 16 – The Ministry of Health and Social Protection received on Tuesday the new ventilators funded by the governments of Switzerland and Norway and UNDP Albania. The new life-saving machines were procured as part of collective efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and to increase the capacities of Albania’s healthcare system to cope with the emergency.
The ventilators come as an addition to the Albanian government’s previous purchase of those machines, which are critical for treating patients under intensive care. Furthermore, these ventilators will continue to be necessary even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, as they are used to assist patients with respiratory problems accompanying a variety of conditions.
Present at the handover ceremony were the Minister of Health and Social Protection Ogerta Manastirliu, the Norwegian Ambassador to Albania Jens Erik Grondahl, the Embassy of Switzerland’s Deputy Head of Mission Patrik Meier and UNDP’s Resident Representative Limya Eltayeb.
“We continue to strengthen the capacity of the public health system in response to COVID19 and this valuable assistance from our partners with this life-saving equipment will help strengthen intensive care units in the country," said Ogerta Manastirliu, Minister of Health and Social Protection.
“In line with Switzerland’s engagement for a stronger health sector, the new ventilators serve to increase capacities to deal not only with COVID-19 patients, but also to treat patients from other respiratory complications”, said Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Switzerland, Patrik Meier.
The Norwegian Ambassador to Albania Jens Grondahl underlined: “I am very pleased to be here today to hand over the ventilators to the Mother Theresa Hospital to help health authorities cope with COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases. This is a global problem that needs common solutions between countries. Norway remains a proud supporter of Albania’s national efforts against the pandemic in an unprecedented partnership with Albanian Government, Switzerland and UNDP.
“As part of the UN’s collective efforts to help the Government of Albania provide an effective healthcare response for those affected by the virus, UNDP is happy to have joined hands with the Embassy of Switzerland and Norway to purchase additional ventilators. No one is immune to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the ventilators will strengthen Albania’s healthcare system to cope better with the threat of the pandemic, we all have a responsibility, as individuals, to adhere to recommended measures and support Government’s efforts to curb the spread of this virus. Together we can defeat this pandemic,” said UNDP Resident Representative Limya Eltayeb.
The Swiss Government provided 330,000 USD, the Norwegian Government 3,000,000 Norwegian Krone (approximately 300,000 USD) and UNDP 150,000 USD.
Since the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the country on March 9, 1,672 cases have been reported so far and 37 people have passed away from the Coronavirus. Currently, 571 cases are active in the country – 50 people are hospitalized, eight patients are being treated in intensive care and two are intubated.
It is in this context that owning enough ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients remains one of the government’s highest priorities and a point of support coming from Albania’s international partners.