THE first of a series of UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF) flights taking medical supplies to Africa to help fight the coronavirus pandemic departed today (June 27).
Funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) the RAF C-17 transport aircraft was carrying a field hospital, which will be built in Ghana and used as a backup facility for frontline aid workers in the region, according to a DfID statement. The aid workers from around the world are playing a crucial role in West Africa working to improve health systems, prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives.
It comes after the UK responded to a request by the UN to NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre. The UN is leading global logistics efforts to make sure medical supplies reach those who need them most during the pandemic.
With commercial flights disrupted and the cost of cargo flights having escalated, the UK’s support is crucial.
The UK-aid funded field hospital has been organised by the UN World Food Programme (WFP), and will have the capacity to care for up to 92 people.
The UK has previously announced £15 million of support to the WFP to support its coronavirus response.
‘This field hospital will play an important role in the global battle against coronavirus. Aid workers are on the frontline of the coronavirus response, and it is critical they are protected so they can continue their life-saving work.
‘This is the best of British – the UK military and UK aid – working together to solve a global problem for the benefit of all of us. No one is safe until we are all safe.
‘The field hospital, which weighs approximately 130 tonnes, the equivalent of seven buses, will be transported to Accra in up to five flights. It will then be built to support the coronavirus response where the need is greatest,’ said International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan.