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Visiting the WHO’s COVID-19 logistics hub

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Visiting the WHO’s COVID-19 logistics hub
Copyright  Credit: Dubai Tourism
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The coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) and has seen stocks dwindle worldwide. These shortages are dangerous for workers in the medical sector treating infected patients.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has played a central role in battling the virus. In addition to advising and informing the public and governments about COVID-19, they have also supplied and transported PPE all over the world. But getting supplies to every corner of the planet is a logistical challenge.

Their operations hub is located in Dubai's International Humanitarian City, which calls itself the 'largest humanitarian hub in the world'.

Euronews visited the centre, staffed by a team of seven, to see the WHO team in action.

A shipment of protective clothing was being prepared for dispatch and would reach many parts of Africa in only a few hours.

It is a strategic location as Giuseppe Saba, CEO of International Humanitarian City tells Euronews:

From Dubai, in a few hours flight, maximum between six and eight hours, you can reach two-thirds of the world's population.

According to WHO staff in Dubai, its UAE facility has supported 85% of the organisation's medical commodity response. They claim to have rolled out one million pairs of surgical gloves, one million surgical masks and over 100,000 surgical gowns to date.

"We have grown four times in size, from what we were originally," explains Robert Blanchard, team leader for emergency operations. "In the future what we will see is that the science of supply chain management will be married with the science of medicine to reach our goal of protecting 1 billion from health emergencies. "

The WHO's work to help ‘flatten the curve’ during the coronavirus crisis is part of the organisation's primary mission of helping an additional one billion people during health emergencies.