The Welsh Conservatives have raised eyebrows at the Government's decision to send £7 million worth of personal protective equipment to Namibia.

The Government has announced it is sending £500,000 plus £7.2m worth of PPE classified as unneeded to the southern African country.

The £500,000 grant is being given for oxygen equipment and nurse training.

Namibia is currently experiencing its third wave of the pandemic and this third surge has exposed the critically insufficient health infrastructure in Namibia.

However, the Welsh Tories have questioned whether Namibia is the correct place Welsh resources should be used.

The party's 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.

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“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.”

Namibia ranks 51st on Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index, the second-best ranking in Africa and better than the EU's Greece, Slovakia and Croatia.

In response to the criticism, Welsh Labour responded by saying: "More reactionary bile from the Tories in Wales.

"We have a proud history of mutual aid across nations."

The equipment will be donated through Cardiff University’s Phoenix Project and follows a grant earlier this year of £125,000 given to promote awareness of the need for coronavirus vaccinations in Namibia.

In June, Professor Kenneth Matengu from the University of Namibia met with First Minister Mark Drakeford to report on the grant.

Announcing the latest support, Mr Drakeford said: "I have heard directly from Namibia on the extremely difficult situation that they face in the battle against Covid-19.

"We have a duty to help those in need and I’m proud that Wales is stepping forward to fight the global threat of coronavirus.

"Wales will stand alongside Namibia and we will do everything we can to help them through this difficult time."

PPE supply in Wales was stretched thin during the pandemic. However, NHS Wales' stockpiles and supply chains are believed to have built up unneeded stock, providing an opportunity to support partner countries in Africa.

Professor Judith Hall of Cardiff University leads the Phoenix Project, working with agencies in Namibia on health promotion, poverty reduction and environmental projects.

Professor Hall said: “Wales and Africa, Welsh Government’s international development programme led by Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt, is a remarkable project and an exemplar of its kind for the world.

"The Phoenix Project is delighted to be delivering the PPE donation and managing the Oxygen grant on behalf of the Welsh Government.

"Namibia has a serious problem with oxygen supply and a lack of personnel with the skills to deliver oxygen to save the lives of those with severe Covid-19.

"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.”

It is understood the equipment will be shipped free of charge by Maersk UK during the week beginning August 30 and will arrive in Namibia around 20 days later.

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