Covid in Scotland: £11m of unused PPE shipped to Africa

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A Scottish health charity is to distribute more than £11m worth of equipment to help protect against Covid in three countries in Africa.

Edinburgh-based Kids Operating Room will send supplies to Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia after raising funds from business and the Scottish government.

Equipment, including visors and goggles, will be sent to the region in 25 shipping containers.

The donated items are due to arrive later this month.

They were identified by NHS National Services Scotland as unlikely to be used within the health and social care sector.

The figure includes nearly 200 million masks and more than 320 million pairs of gloves.

Unneeded stocks

It comes after criticism from the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the approach adopted by some developed countries to donating unneeded stocks of equipment and vaccines.

The WHO said that just 20% of people in low and lower-middle-income countries had received a first dose of Covid vaccine.

KidsOR raised £1m to transport the shipping containers from businesses including the Wood Foundation, Pula Limited, Postcode Innovation Trust and Delta Philanthropie, with the Scottish government also donating £250,000 towards the cost of transportation.

Co-founder of the charity, Garreth Wood, said the donation of so many items off PPE would prove vital for countries in Africa battling the pandemic.

Mary Morgan, the chief executive of NHS National Services Scotland, said beating Covid required a global effort.

International Development Minister Jenny Gilruth added: "This contribution builds on our recent supply of oxygen concentrators and ventilators, and we hope it will go some way to easing the current stress on health services."

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