ZAMBOANGA CITY – Medical services received a boost after Germany and the United Kingdom donated COVID-19 equipment and medical vehicles to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Ministry of Health (MOH) last Wednesday.
MOH officer-in-charge Health Minister Dr. Ameril Usman said the donation was an act of moral governance as they help the BARMM uplift the lives of the Bangsamoro.
Usman said the German government donated 35 solar generators, three land ambulances, and one sea ambulance while the British government donated three units of biosafety refrigerators and three cold chain vehicles through the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) “prepare, prevent, and protect” approach in mitigating impacts of the pandemic to vulnerable sectors communities in Mindanao.
IOM Philippines chief of mission Kristin Dadey said the donated vehicles and equipment were timely with the roll out of the COVID vaccine as it will be significant in storing and transporting specimens and medicines for critical patients across the region.
“We are working, in partnership with the Ministry of Health in BARMM and Integrated Provincial Health Offices, to enhance logistics and frontline healthcare capacities in cold chain management (of COVID-19 specimens),” Dadey added.
The vehicles, Usman added, will be turned over to recipient local and provincial government units after an agreement for their maintenance and continued operation has been signed.
Deputy Minister of Health Dr. Zul Qarneyn Abas and IOM sub-office head Hwakyun Kim signed the donation acceptance documents.
The turnover was also attended by Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim, Executive Secretary Abdulraof Macacua, Cabinet Secretary Mohd Asnin Pendatun, German Ambassador to the Philippines Anke Reiffenstuel, British Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Alastair Totty, and Dadey.
Ebrahim thanked Berlin and Downing St. for their donation. “Your support, along with the rest of the international community, speaks a lot about our shared desire of achieving lasting peace,” Ebrahim said.
The regional government has allotted an initial budget of P500 million to procure COVID-19 vaccines.
Usman said the training for vaccinators is already under way for the vaccine management team of MOH. “We are still searching for vaccines that are appropriate for our situation in BARMM,” he said.
Last November, the IOM also donated 240 COVID-19 specimen carriers, 240 ice packs, and 4, 800 specimen bags to the BARMM.