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Continued UNIFIL support to fight COVID-19

Donation of medications and medical devices to the Lebanese Red Cross in Tyre.

UNIFIL Italian peacekeepers have recently extended a wide range of assistance to local authorities and communities, enabling them to better fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the past 10 days, they donated medications and medical devices valued about 250,000 Euros (US$ 303,000) to the Lebanese Red Cross in Tyre and Bint Jbeil municipalities to combat the spread of the Coronavirus and treat other diseases.

The medications were largely antibiotics for the treatment of respiratory tract infections (RTIs), which is useful for the treatment of Coronavirus, as well as gastrointestinal diseases, meningitis, urinary tract infections, abdominal colic and gastritis.

During a handover ceremony, UNIFIL Sector West Commander Brigadier General Andrea Di Stasio said, “The donation is aimed at supporting the Lebanese healthcare system and people who are socially and economically disadvantaged.”

In addition to these donations, the Italian peacekeepers have recently donated 14,000 surgical masks and 3,000 bottles of disinfectant gel, funded by the Italian Ministry of Defense, to the host communities.

On 4 December, the UNIFIL peacekeepers also hosted a virtual seminar between Lebanese and Italian doctors and other health professionals on efficient management of COVID-19 hospitalized patients.

The seminar sought to enhance cooperation and knowledge-sharing in dealing with the ongoing health emergency as a result of the pandemic.

The Lebanese health personnel from the governmental hospital of Bint Jbeil, one of the most important reference centres in the country for treating COVID-19 patients, attended the seminar.

On the Italian side were senior infectious disease experts and other medical professionals from the cities of Rome and Genoa.

The seminar saw lively discussion on a number of medical topics and issues, including the logistical challenges faced by the various COVID-19 hospitals, to the latest scientific updates on the most effective therapeutic strategies in the management of the Covid-19 patients in the ordinary ward and in intensive care units.

Brig. Gen. Di Stasio remarked that “this initiative represented the first example of Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) in a pandemic era.”

These supports represent UNIFIL’s ongoing assistance to local communities in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Just last week, Italian peacekeepers had also donated two Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) equipment to detect the presence of viral proteins (antigens) caused by the COVID-19 to Tyre and Tibnin hospitals, which are the main hubs for COVID-19 patients in the UNIFIL area of operations in south Lebanon.

Since the very beginning of the pandemic, UNIFIL peacekeepers have actively supported the efforts of the local communities in limiting the spread of the virus.

[UN Photos / Corporal Marina Dore]