The Ambassador of the United States of America to Serbia, Anthony Godfrey, presented today 6 new ambulances to the Serbian Minister of Health, Zlatibor Loncar. The vehicles are intended for health institutions throughout Serbia, to ensure that they can effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and be better prepared health crises in the future.
The handover, which took place in front of the Palace of Serbia, was also attended by Francine Pickup, United Nations Development Program Resident Representative in Serbia (UNDP) and the representatives of the donation receipients heath institutions.
The ambulances delivered today are a part of a contingent of a total of 11 vehicles provided for health care institutions in Serbia by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and will go to: the General Hospital Čačak, the Health Center Barajevo, the Special Hospital for Nonspecific Lung Diseases Sokobanja, the General Hospital Jagodina, the Health Center Bujanovac and the Health Center Kraljevo. By the end of August, the remaining 5 vehicles will be delivered.
“This pandemic has clearly shown how important health care is and how important it is to work together. Healthcare has been under great pressure in all countries of the world. The need to support it and invest in it has never been clearer”, said Anthony Godfrey, the United States Ambassador to Serbia.
“The pandemic has shown us how important it is to be in solidarity and help each other. UNDP, with the support of the American people, and in partnership with the Government, is helping Serbia emerge from this crisis stronger and better prepared for future challenges. In order to leave no one behind, these vehicles, equipped to provide emergency medical care in accordance with international standards, will also go to smaller cities and municipalities in Serbia. This will ensure that citizens in those areas reach health facilities safely and receive the necessary medical assistance on time”, said Francine Pickup, UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia.
The Minister of Health, Dr. Zlatibor Loncar, thanked Ambassador Godfrey and the UNDP Resident Representative in Serbia, Ms. Pickup, for the donation, emphasizing that in a time of pandemic, time of coronavirus, we must be united, and work together to fight corona virus.
“We can’t solve the problem with the corona virus in our own backyard, but we have to work together. That is why, as a state, we have distributed 400,000 doses of vaccines to the citizens of the surrounding countries, and we are glad that other countries think that way.” Loncar pointed out.
The official handover of these vehicles also marked the beginning of activities within the “Together against COVID” project, funded by USAID and implemented by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs and the Institute of Public Health of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanovic Batut”.
The goal of the comprehensive aid of the American people, worth one million US dollars, is to provide an efficient response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in Serbia in the field of health, social and environmental protection.
In order for Serbia to get a modern center for managing the vaccination process and public health crises, the National Operations Center for Immunization will be established at the Institute of Public Health of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanovic Batut” in Belgrade, for which state-of-the-art telecommunications equipment will be provided.
In addition, 24 public health institutes across Serbia will also receive new equipment to improve coordination and communication.
Tablets and TV sets will be donated to 36 homes for the elderly throughout Serbia, so that, in conditions of limited mobility and visits, but also after the stabilization of the health situation in the country, senior citizens can more easily stay in touch with their family and friends in the country and abroad.
In order to minimize the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the environment in Serbia, it is necessary to prepare infectious and medical waste, including that resulting from mass vaccination, for safe disposal. In order to enable that, the Institute for Public Health of Serbia “Dr Milan Jovanović Batut” will be equipped with a steam sterilizer and a shredder for medical waste management.
This assistance is part of USAID’s broader support to Serbia in the fight against COVID-19, which also included funding for innovative local entrepreneurs and researchers, who were ready to respond to the pandemic. Thanks to this support, during the last year, local production of protective equipment for laboratory and medical staff was enabled, as well as development of a domestic ELISA test for the corona virus.