SPAIN: The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya, and the Foreign Minister of Bolivia, Rogelio Mayta, recently announced another delivery of humanitarian aid to Bolivia consisting of 100,000 rapid antigen tests, together with 15 respirators, anaesthetic drugs and sedatives, and other equipment to support medical action in critical COVID-19 cases.
During an online press briefing from Madrid and La Paz, respectively, Arancha González Laya listed the contents of this second operation that has been underway since 30 June with support from the Bolivian Embassy in Madrid, which is 10 times larger in volume than the first one that was sent in early March.
The Spanish donation amounts to a total value of 2.2 million dollars (1.8 million Euros), to which must be added the air freight cost. The latter will be covered in full by the Government of Bolivia through Boliviana de Aviación (BOA). The Spanish contributions have been made by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation. All the material will be delivered to the Bolivian Health Ministry, which will be responsible for its distribution through the country’s public health system.
The previous delivery, in March 2021, included personal protective equipment for healthcare staff in general and especially the personnel in charge of vaccination (chemical and biological protective gowns, FFP2 face masks, nitrile gloves, panoramic protective goggles, face protection screens, surgical masks and nursing caps).
The emergencies agreement between the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (Spanish acronym: AECID) and Doctors of the World, has also been triggered on two occasions in response to the pandemic in Bolivia, and further contributions continue to be channelled from public and private institutions in Spain.
Spain was the first country to respond to Bolivia’s request for emergency aid in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic through a call to the European Civil Protection Mechanism, leading to two direct actions coordinated by the AECID Office for Humanitarian Action.
The close cooperation that exists between the health systems of Bolivia and Spain is also worth highlighting, involving our best hospital and medicine teaching institutions (Gregorio Marañón, Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, Hospital Ramón y Cajal). This is generating mutual knowledge that will facilitate ongoing cooperation in the health sector. Funds have already been approved to continue this programme until at least 2023. It is expected that this cycle will conclude after having covered the entire training system in medical specialities.