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ADB, UNICEF send Fiji urgent medical supplies to battle second wave of COVID-19

SUVA, FIJI -The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today supplied more than 1.6 million urgent medical supplies and 9,450 diagnostic testing kits to support Fiji in the ongoing detection and containment of the …

SUVA, FIJI -The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today supplied more than 1.6 million urgent medical supplies and 9,450 diagnostic testing kits to support Fiji in the ongoing detection and containment of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The $US513,000 worth of medical supplies, cofinanced by ADB and UNICEF and transported by the World Food Programme (WFP), will help to strengthen the country’s COVID-19 response during the ongoing second wave of the pandemic, while supporting the continuation of essential health services. In addition, ADB funded 9,450 testing cartridges and swabs worth US$201,000, procured by UNICEF.

“The Government of Fiji and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services thank the ADB and UNICEF for the tremendous support towards the response effort for this second wave of COVID-19 cases,” said the Hon. Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete. “The generous donation is timely and will greatly assist our frontliners and health institutions to safely and effectively deliver the public health response that is needed to identify and interrupt the transmission of the virus in our communities, and to nurse the positive cases, which includes children, back to recovery."

The medical supplies include about 308,000 medical grade masks, 15,000 N95 respirators, 47,000 gowns, 2 million gloves, and 23,000 face shields, biohazard bags, and other essential items. Diagnostic equipment including GeneXpert testing cartridges and swabs will be used to help the government detect cases of COVID-19.

Arriving in staggered shipments, with the first shipment today, the medical supplies will help to build the capacity of the local health system and support in managing rising numbers of COVID-19 cases as well as limiting transmission.

“This second wave of COVID in Fiji, with the corresponding spike in community transmission, puts the health of all Fijians at risk. These supplies will enable healthcare workers to safely provide services to those who need it most, including children,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett. “We thank the Government of Fiji for their leadership in combatting this pandemic, ADB for their partnership and WFP for their assistance in helping to transport the supplies.”

Many frontline health care workers in Fiji are based in remote health care facilities. UNICEF is working closely with the Government of Fiji to ensure the new supplies reach these remote health care workers to ensure they are protected.

“Together with UNICEF, we remain committed to support Fiji’s latest fight against COVID-19,” said ADB’s Pacific Subregional Office Regional Director Masayuki Tachiiri. “These supplies will ensure frontline health workers can safely conduct their work to stop the spread of the virus. This is an important part of ADB’s support package, which includes financial support for the COVID-19 response budget, liquidity support for Fiji Airways, and various technical assistance.”

Notes to Editors:

About ADB:

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

For more information, please contact:

Sally Shute-Trembath, ADB Pacific, Tel: +612 82709444, sshute-trembath@adb.org

Zubnah Khan, UNICEF Pacific, Tel: +679 9988137, zukhan@unicef.org

Source: Asian Development Bank