The Ministry of Health has submitted a procurement proposal to buy €100 million worth of protective equipment for the National Emergency Supply Agency NESA, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The ministry announced the bid on Monday, and wants to buy not just from international sources but also from Finnish companies to help domestic production and guarantee availability of the equipment.
“The coronavirus epidemic will continue to slpw down, but we are prepared for the fact that the disease situation may change in the future, and the demand for protective equipment will increase from the current level” says Aino-Kaisa Pekonen (Left) Minister of Social Affairs and Health.
“We are now replenishing our protective equipment stocks and at the same time supporting the start of domestic production which will improve our self-sufficiency in crisis situation” she adds.
The €100 million would buy at least nine million surgical face masks to cover nose and mouth; at least 1.5 million higher-specification face masks; up to 150 million pairs of gloves; six million protective coats and aprons.
Orders will start to be placed in June and the equipment will be stored at NESA’s facilities.
Previous controversy over protective equipment
The subject of protective equipment – or lack of it – has been problematic in many countries including Finland.
At the start of the virus, local healthcare districts were supposed to have up to six months of supplies in stock but not all of them did. NESA’s stores were opened but a lot of the equipment was found to be out of date.
Then a multi-million euro order for protective masks from China ended in scandal after it was discovered that officials had had used a Finnish tabloid celebrity who runs a cosmetic surgery business in Estonia, and her payday loan business partner, as middlemen for the deals.
The former head of NESA resigned over the incident, and there is an ongoing criminal investigation into the issues surrounding the procurement order.
You might also be interested in: