GENEVA, Switzerland — Facing an unprecedented global demand for essential COVID-19 medical supplies, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is working with partners to help secure supplies to assist the most vulnerable countries. This is explored as follows:
Unprecedented global demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), diagnostic tests and biomedical equipment required for the COVID-19 response has created acute market shortages of these essential supplies. WHO’s Operations Support and Logistics (OSL) team is working with WFP, UNICEF and other UN agencies, donor partners and NGOs to approach the market with the collective voice of the UN to negotiate with manufacturers to help secure life-saving supplies to assist the most vulnerable countries.
In recent weeks, OSL with the support of purchasing consortia has procured large volumes of PPE, testing supplies and clinical care equipment for allocation and delivery to low- and middleincome countries facing the greatest difficulties accessing these critical supplies.
The diagnostics consortium has procured four million manual polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and 3 million sample collection kits for allocation to 135 countries.
The biomedical consortium has procured and allocated to 41 countries 4,000 oxygen concentrators, along with additional quantities of accessories and consumables (including oxygen cannulas, venturi masks, filters and other items). First deliveries are expected in the coming two weeks. WHO is also preparing to purchase additional biomedical equipment for allocation to countries in June, including concentrators, ventilators, pulse oximeters and patient monitors.
With support from the PPE consortium, WHO is preparing to ship more than 70 million medical masks, 3 million gowns, 28 million gloves, 15 million N95 Respirators, one million goggles and 9 million face shields to 126 countries.
COVID-19 supply portal
WHO encourages Member States to submit requests for supplies through the COVID-19 Supply Portal, a tool to enable national authorities and all implementing partners supporting COVID-19 national plans to request critical supplies. The Portal may be accessed through the COVID-19 Partners Platform, which provides guidance and instructions on the use of the Portal.
An updated version of the Supply Portal was launched last week, with new features that:
▪ Enable supplying agencies to list supplies;
▪ Add a comments feature;
▪ Provide a ‘Country viewer’ of all requests submitted within one country; designed for country teams and government;
▪ And, provide a ‘Global viewer’ of all requests submitted globally; designed for regional offices and HQ;
To date, the Portal has received 117 requests from 47 countries.