The American University of Kurdistan (AUK) donated over 100,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to local health workers in the Kurdistan Region’s province of Duhok as part of efforts to assist the ongoing fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The effort to make the donation was spearheaded by its Dean of Nursing, Dr. Susie Chen. According to a press release from AUK, she accomplished it through fundraising and facilitation with and hospitals in Taiwan which provided the equipment.

“After mobilizing many different non-profit organizations in a month, I feel very grateful that I was able to raise funds to purchase PPEs,” said Dr. Chen. “Thus, we can have such large quantities of PPEs donated to hospitals, clinics, and refugee camps through the Directorate General of Health in Duhok.” 

The equipment includes 106,000 surgical and N95 face masks, 900 face shields, and over 2,300 medical gowns, according to the release.

In a press conference organized to announce the donation, Dr. Nizar Esmat, the general-director of the health directorate, said his department has been “very much in need” of the equipment which he stressed was greatly appreciated.

Dr. Esmat mentioned that 30 percent of the shipment “will be donated to clinics in Duhok province’s refugee camps,” at Dr. Chen’s request.

The AUK statement said the donation is meant to ease the heavy burden the current health crisis puts on health workers and to, “encourage strict compliance with the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) guidelines and measures to fight this deadly virus.” 

The AUK was founded in 2014 as a non-profit, special status institution of higher learning and aims “to shape the next generation of leaders through its curriculum and exceptional faculty.” Its first batch of graduates completed their degrees in 2019.