UNICEF appeals to Belarusian businesses and citizens to raise $1.5M to help medical professionals

Dr. Rashed Sarwar, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Belarus, addressed the Belarusian business community and all the country’s residents with an open letter to jointly raise 1.5 million US dollars for an emergency campaign to procure and deliver by medical equipment and personal protective equipment for Belarusian medical professionals and patients during COVID-19.

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My name is Dr. Rashed Sarwar. I am a Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Belarus. I have been working for the United Nations System for 25 years, having dedicated almost 20 of them to UNICEF. In all my years of work, including in hot spots (Afghanistan, Kosovo, East Timor, Tajikistan, Chechnya), I cannot recall a tougher international crisis that has impacted the entire world.

As a doctor by training and head of the National Office of the world’s largest organization under the auspices of the United Nations, I wish to ask for your support in conducting what will probably become the most challenging emergency operation in Belarusian history.

Our team has a unique opportunity to purchase a large cargo of medical equipment and materials through our UNICEF global logistics hub in Copenhagen, Denmark and deliver this to Belarus. We are the only international organization in Belarus with this kind of logistical capacity and 75 years of experience in dealing with emergency situations around the world. All supplies will be transferred to the Belarusian government for further distribution to healthcare, educational and social protection institutions. Some items will also be purchased from Belarusian manufacturers.

Due to its special status within the UN System, UNICEF is exempt from taxes and customs duties when importing goods to Belarus. Our team has been working directly with the government for 25 years, which will help avoid delays in the delivery and clearance of international emergency aid within the country. 

Within 6 weeks, we can bring in several shipments totaling 1,500,000+ liters of antiseptic and personal hygiene products, 100,000+ test systems, remote temperature measurement devices, hygiene kits, personal protective equipment, oxygen concentrators and much more. 

Our estimates suggest that the aid provided by UNICEF, will ensure 4 months of continuous operation for Belarusian hospitals. This operation is estimated to cost 1.5 million dollars and all funds collected will be used exclusively for the procurement and delivery effort. We guarantee public provision of the reporting documents to account for all the funds spent.

I can imagine how devastating the losses from the epidemic and the crisis have been for Belarusian businesses and residents. Nonetheless, I am appealing to you to aid those who are in challenging and vulnerable positions. First of all, I am referring to medical professionals who risk their safety and their families’ future every day for hundreds of patients in dozens of hospitals across the country and those who are fighting COVID-19. 

I am also prepared to discuss and explore centralized procurement of equipment for distance learning at schools and special children’s institutions in Belarus. UNICEF also stands ready to provide expert support to establish the national distance learning system within the framework of cooperation between private businesses and the Belarusian government.

The situation we are facing is unprecedented. The war on coronavirus is a war where no one is or will remain unaffected by this disease. This may be the only time in your life when a donation to pay for medical equipment and protective equipment to help others is the most crucial thing you can do to keep your family safe from the virus. I call on Belarusian businesses and all concerned citizens to unite and help medical staff and their patients — to protect themselves and their loved ones from this virus. I urge you to support the UNICEF team in Belarus and jointly embark on the most challenging operation to save human lives in Belarus.

Please join us. Now is the time.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Rashed Sarwar, PhD



Anastasia Bakhanouskaya 


+375 29 699 98 72

Liubou Kudzelka 


+375 33 630 71 78

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