Tories complain about project to deliver PPE from Wales to Namibia
The Tories have complained about a project to deliver £7.2m worth of PPE from Wales to Namibia.
The African country is in the middle of a devastating third wave of Covid-19, and has the worst fatality rate from the deadly virus on the continent.
But Conservative shadow health minister, Russell George MS has said the project, which is backed by the Welsh Government would “raise some eyebrows”.
Clinical equipment, including masks, gowns and hand sanitizer which is not needed by the NHS in Wales is being donated via the Phoenix Project. A further £500,000 grant is being given for oxygen equipment and nurse training.
The Phoenix Project is a partnership between Cardiff University and the University of Namibia working to reduce poverty and promote health and a sustainable environment.
Commenting on the Welsh Labour Government’s announcement it is to give £500k plus £7m worth of PPE to Namibia, Welsh Conservative shadow health minister, Russell George MS said: “As a United Kingdom we should always seek to help those worse off.
“Labour’s decision to spend half a million pounds and send £7m worth of PPE to a country that is often accused of being besieged by corruption will raise some eyebrows at home, particularly when ministers in Cardiff Bay regularly claim resources are stretched and blame the UK Government.
“As we move into the more challenging seasons of autumn and winter, Welsh Government ministers must confirm we have a plentiful supply of PPE in Wales and that the money given to Namibia is guaranteed to be used for the purposes set out, not lost in someone’s back pocket.”
Professor Judith Hall, from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine and lead of the Phoenix Project, made a personal plea to the Welsh First Minister to help the country, which has the worst Covid fatality rate in Africa and is in “extreme need”.
“I phoned Mark Drakeford and asked: ‘What can the people of Wales do to help?’” said Professor Hall.
“I asked for a donation of PPE from the Welsh Government – and sent him a list of the hundreds of thousands of items the Namibians desperately need to fight Covid. They came back with an incredible donation of millions of pieces of PPE, worth $150 Million Namibian dollars.
“These donations will make a huge and sustainable difference to the people of Namibia and in the short term, thousands of lives will be saved. This is only possible because we have resilient PPE supply chains here in Wales, so we are able to offer much-needed support to our partners in southern Africa.
“The Phoenix Project is delighted to be delivering the PPE donation and managing the oxygen grant on behalf of the Welsh Government.”