September 24, 2021

Balkan Travellers

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The arrival of donations saves Tunisia from a health “disaster”

Posted on Sunday, July 25, 2021 at 07:21 AM.

According to health and industry experts, donations from European and Gulf countries, Tunisians in the diaspora and ordinary citizens allow Tunisia to be hit hard by the Covit.

The Maghreb country, which struggled to find the necessary vaccines before the outbreak in July, has now received a dose of 3.2 million, mostly delivered, with more than 5 million expected by mid-August, the health ministry said.

About 500,000 doses come from China, many from the United Arab Emirates and 250,000 doses from neighboring Algeria.

This week France alone gave more than a million Astra Geneca and Jansen, which is enough to vaccinate 800,000 people, or “one tenth of the adult population” in this country of 12 million people, AFP Secretary of State Jean-Baptiste Lemoine said.

Associations and immigrants will not leave when help is sent.

“The mobilization of civil society has saved Tunisia from a catastrophic situation,” said Sirin Setli, a member of the Young Tunisian Physicians’ Association, who appealed for donations from other associations and organizations.

Therefore, Dr. Heckmey Lucier, President of the Institute Bashar de Tunis, adds, “Donations of vaccines will allow about 50% of the population to accelerate vaccination to achieve our goal of vaccinating by mid-October.” What is “to reduce the circulation of the virus in the country”, he adds to the AFP.

But these vaccines are coming too late. Tunisia, which received only one-sixth of the amounts promised under the Kovacs Program for Poor Countries, has one of the worst mortality rates linked to Govt in the world.

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Tunisian internet users share videos of panicked families as their loved ones could not get a bed, caregivers fearing a lack of oxygen and bodies piled up in excess corpses.

– Management Barriers-

Public hospitals, which were already unsupported during normal times due to poor management and lack of resources, sought help again in early summer, in particular, to obtain safety equipment and resuscitation equipment.

At the Cairo (North) Hospital, which was overwhelmed by the influx of patients at the end of June, Dr. Seatley underlined that “donations of oxygen concentrators have made it possible to reduce the number of serious cases and deaths.”

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Tunisia, which had only 90 revitalization beds in the public sector before the epidemic, now has 500, thanks in part to donations.

Tunisian customs authorize Tunisians from abroad to return an oxygen concentrator to a traveler without paying a tax.

But the installation of sophisticated equipment suffers from a lack of coordination or barriers to management.

A field hospital provided by the United States in May was established in July, and is still inactive due to another oxygen shortage provided by Qatar.

Of the three oxygen generators supplied by France in early June, one is worth one million euros and each continues to provide 300 beds, with only one fully operational.

Meanwhile, France and Italy have sent large amounts of oxygen in containers in recent days.

Other Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Algeria or the United Arab Emirates have also sent tons of medical equipment. Mauritania also supplied 15 tons of fish.

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But it is not enough to deal with the crisis: preventive measures are badly respected, and power struggles at the top of the state are disrupting public forces.

“We need public awareness, good management of the health crisis by the authorities and political stability,” Dr. Chetley underlined.