At the end of December 2020, the EU offered Moldova a batch of equipment to combat the COVID-19 pandemic as part of its “Solidarity for Health” Initiative in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. These days, hospitals receive 34 pulmonary ventilation devices and 41 monitors for monitoring the condition of patients suffering from the COVID-19 virus. The EU and WHO’s donation values up to 1 million euros and is one of the largest contributions Moldova received to deal with the current pandemic.
Outdated equipment in district hospitals
ZdG discussed with heads of 20 hospitals benefiting from the donation. They agreed that the pandemic has completely caught the district hospitals unprepared, as the equipment for the treatment of lung diseases is few and outdated.
Lilia Chiriac, the director of the Dondușeni District Hospital in Northern Moldova says that the donated equipment is life-saving for the patients who, following the contamination with the new coronavirus, got complicated pneumonia, which is difficult to cure. “Everything is outdated. Of course, any donation is important, but the artificial ventilation devices of the lungs really save the patients”. However, only one such device at a hospital with 117 seats is insufficient, says Lilia Chiriac.
At the District Hospital Rezina, northern Moldova, the director of the institution, Nina Postu notes that the hospital meets its needs around 35-40 % with the help of donations from abroad, and from local aid. The hospital will receive a respiratory ventilator, much needed for patients developing pneumonia.
The director of the Fălești District Hospital, Iurie Osoianu, says that the institution received from external donations two monitors for monitoring patients, several oxygen concentrators, but also protective equipment. According to the director, donations cover 10% of the hospital’s needs.
Alexandru Năstase, the director of the Anenii-Noi District Hospital, says that although the institution is quite large, with 170 seats, it has only five devices for artificial ventilation of the lungs, all with a high degree of wear. “We received several aids, but we do not know from whom they reach us, because they are all transmitted through the Ministry of Health”, explains Alexandru Năstase.
In Vulcănești district, southern Moldova, the director of the hospital declares herself grateful for any kind of help that reaches the hospital. “We received several monitors for patient monitoring, pulse oximeters, and even a German-made x-ray machine, which we desperately needed,” said the hospital’s director. She noted that every day the equipment wears out and every donation, especially in pandemic conditions, it matters a lot. Ana Brânză observes that the pandemic also has a positive effect on the health system. “Finally, society and the authorities have understood how important the health system is. Only now have they started talking about health problems, to analyse how these can be managed”, says Ana Brânză.
Humanitarian aid distributed according to needs
Officials from the Ministry of Health claim that all donated equipment to Moldova is distributed according to the availability of equipment and the urgent needs of each hospital institution.
On March 27, 2020, at the very beginning of the pandemic, the EU announced a € 30.5 million assistance package to support actions to prevent, detect and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in the EaP countries. The initial funds were used to address urgent needs, such as the purchase of personal protective equipment, the training of medical workers and personnel involved in combating COVID-19 and for information campaigns on protection measures.
One of the largest humanitarian aid for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Chișinău on July 15, 2020. Then, the EU and the WHO secured the purchase of over 1.5 million pieces for personal protective equipment intended for front-line medical workers from Moldova. The aid included 1.2 million medical masks, 348,000 N95 respirators, over 16,000 safety glasses and 36,000 gowns. Donors ensured that all equipment delivered met quality and safety standards.
On July 24, the EU and WHO donated to district hospitals and primary care institutions of the Autonomous Territorial Unit Gagauz -Yeri, southern Moldova, more than 62,000 units of protective equipment – 50,780 medical masks, 10,080 N95 respirators, 250 safety glasses and 1,128 gowns.
On August 7, a part of the first humanitarian batch arrived in medical institutions on the left bank of the Nistru River: 121,000 surgical masks, 35,000 N95 respirators, 3,600 protective gowns and 1,600 safety glasses.
Subsequent assistance within the” Solidarity for Health” Initiative is intended to strengthen the capacity of medical institutions to respond to public health emergencies and to increase access to oxygen treatment.
On September 7, a batch of 350 oxygen concentrators, needed in the therapy of patients diagnosed with COVID-19, which requires immediate oxygen to support vital body functions, arrived in Moldova, thanks to the support of the EU and WHO. The value of the donation is €253,000.
“In these crisis times, the EU is supporting Moldova in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Equipment delivered with the support of the EU and WHO partners through the “Solidarity for Health” Initiative is a concrete example of our support. Besides, a new initiative, with a total budget of €5.1 million will soon arrive to help Moldova cope with the current threats to public health”, announced Magdalena Mueller-Uri, Head of the Operations Section of the EU Delegation to Moldova.
This material is issued within the information campaign “EU-Moldova: Stronger Together”, carried out by the project “Strategic communication and support for the media in the Republic of Moldova”, funded by the European Union. The content of the material belongs to the authors and does not necessarily represent the EU’s vision.