Solomon Islands Receives Medical Supplies and funding to greatly boost efforts against Covid-19
The Solomon Times Online newspaper published details today of much needed medical supplies and funding to further aid the Solomon Islands strengthen its capacity to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic threat.
For the benefit of the external, international readers of the Blog on my website –www.solomoninslandsinfocus.com – I will share the related news.
“Personal protective equipment and other medical supplies, financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and procured by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), are being delivered to Solomon Islands to strengthen the country’s capacity to respond to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The supplies, including masks, thermometers, face shields, gowns, and testing kits, will help ensure frontline medical workers have the resources to respond to a potential outbreak of COVID-19. The first batch of these supplies has been handed over to the Government of Solomon Islands today, with the remaining to arrive in staggered shipments.
“Frontline healthcare workers play a critical role in preventing the virus from entering the country,” said Leah Gutierrez, Director General of ADB’s Pacific Department. “These urgent medical supplies will help Solomon Islands prepare for the threat of COVID-19, and we acknowledge the support of our partners UNICEF and the Government of Solomon Islands.”
“Permanent Secretary of the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Pauline McNeil, acknowledges the support of both ADB and UNICEF towards COVID-19 efforts in the country.
“These supplies funded by ADB, and provided through UNICEF, will contribute significantly to the current efforts of the country to remain COVID-19 free and enhance safety of our frontline health workers who are continuously being exposed to the risk of COVID-19.”
“She further highlighted that the Ministry is also prioritising the prepositioning of adequate supplies of personal protective equipment at the provincial level to ensure that addressing COVID-19 at the provinces are conducted safely with minimal risk.
“Therefore, the supplies provided will greatly assist us in addressing this priority. We are indeed grateful for the support,” said Pauline McNeil.
“Most frontline healthcare workers in the Solomon Islands are located in remote healthcare facilities. ADB and UNICEF are working closely with the Government of Solomon Islands to ensure medical supplies reach these healthcare workers so they can protect their communities, particularly children, against the virus.
“These supplies will support frontline healthcare workers to safely provide services to about 700,000 people, including children. We thank ADB for the support provided to enhance the work being done by the hardworking healthcare workers in the country, as well as the Government of Solomon Islands for the partnership to continue to advocate for the valuable services that these healthcare workers provide,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Pacific Representative.
“The funding comes from an ADB grant of US$7.9 million to support 13 countries in the Pacific to prepare for, and respond, to COVID-19. The grant complements ADB’s $20 billion package—announced on 13 April—to support developing members cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a separate news article, it has been reported that His Excellency Morimoto Yasuhiro, the Japanese Ambassador to Solomon Islands handing over some of the Japanese funded PPEs to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Mrs. Pauline McNeil, in front of Dr. Zelalem Taffesse, Chief of UNICEF Solomon Islands Field Office.
“UNICEF welcomes a US$347,000 funding from the Government of Japan to boost on-going COVID-19 preparedness efforts in the Solomon Islands.
“The Ministry of Health is grateful for the funding support by the people and government of Japan, through UNICEF. Your support will greatly assist both our national and provincial frontline health workers when discharging their duties to protect themselves, their colleagues and the country against COVID-19.
"The support will also help to cultivate and enhance personal hygiene, especially hand washing, to prevent any transmission of COVID-19 should there be a case,” said Pauline McNeil, the Permanent Secretary of the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
“The contribution from Japan is being used to support UNICEF’s efforts in strengthening community engagement as well as provide critical medical and water, sanitation and hygiene supplies. It will also help strengthen health care, education including early childhood, child protection services and research on the impact of this global crisis on women and children in the country.
“Japan is aware of how hard the Government of Solomon Islands is working to protect the country from COVID-19. We are glad to have this opportunity to support the government through UNICEF as well as through partnership with other development partners,” said H.E. MorimotoYasuhiro, Japanese Ambassador to Solomon Islands.
“While COVID-19 has not reached the Solomon Islands shores yet, it is evolving rapidly around the world and is becoming a risk to all countries especially for small Pacific Island states that have limited resources.
“With this funding support, UNICEF has been working closely with the Government of Solomon Islands to improve essential services including the set up of hand washing stations in communities and health centres. Water containers and soap have also been provided so locals have access to safe drinking water and can regularly wash hands, which is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“More than 1,000 schools in the country were also assisted with guidance by UNICEF on COVID-19 prevention and control in schools.
“The funding from Japan will also support the Government of Solomon Islands with personal protective equipment and other medical supplies including oxygen concentrators, pulse oximeters and tents. These will ensure that front-line healthcare workers are equipped with the resources they need to deliver the best services to the communities they serve.
“The medical supplies, arriving in staggered shipments, will help build the capacity of the local health system to manage any COVID-19 cases that may arise, as well as limit transmission.
“We thank the Government of Japan for their partnership with UNICEF to ensure that children in the Solomon Islands and their families remain safe,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to the Pacific. This support will further strengthen the country’s capacity to be prepared for the global pandemic, if it reaches its shores,” he added.
“This funding is a component of the overall Japan grant of US$2 million to UNICEF to support 14 countries in the Pacific region in their preparedness and response plans for COVID-19.
Source:MHMS, ADB and UNICEF
“In yet another, separate news article, countries and territories of the Pacific Islands and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) reached a milestone today with the launch of the humanitarian air service in the region.
“The first flight, from Nadi, Fiji to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, completed this morning, delivered 44 cubic metres of essential medical supplies that will be used in the Government of Papua New Guinea’s response to COVID-19.
“The supplies, including protective masks, suits and gloves, thermometers, and ventilators were transported on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum, in support of the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19 – a regional coordination platform established by the 18 countries of the Forum to facilitate timely and rapid movement of medical and humanitarian assistance across the region.
“The humanitarian air service flights are a welcome demonstration that the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19 is doing what leaders intended - protecting citizens and supporting health systems,” said Dame Meg Taylor, Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General. “We welcome continued partnership and support as the Pathway provides a mechanism led by and for Pacific nations to help meet their needs while respecting COVID-19 border shutdowns, special entry protocols and safety for our Pacific nations.”
“The closure of airports and grounding of aircrafts as a result of COVID-19 prevention measures has dramatically reduced commercial air services, placing stress on the region’s supply chains and making it increasingly challenging for humanitarian and health organizations to get vital supplies and personnel to where they are needed most.
“For the countries and territories of the Pacific islands, air and sea transport is nothing short of a lifeline,” said Jo Pilgrim, Director of WFP Pacific Multi-Country Office. “WFP is proud to be working with Pacific Island governments and humanitarian partners to restore certainty to the supply chain and ensure the delivery of urgently-required medical supplies to the frontlines of the pandemic. I would like to thank our donors, including the Government of Australia for their continued support to WFP’s operations in the Pacific, and for making this air service a reality.”
“The Pacific humanitarian air service is part of the greater Pacific Humanitarian Team COVID-19 Response Plan – a comprehensive regional response plan that seeks to consolidate efforts by UN agencies, governments, regional and multilateral organizations, NGOs, donors and development partners.”
Source: WFP, PIFS