15,000kg of medical supplies arrive in Fiji to support the response to a deadly surge in COVID-19 cases

World Food Programme & World Health Organization, 16 August 2021

Suva, Fiji – With the support from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), Fiji’s ability to care for COVID-19 patients has received a critical boost thanks to the delivery of life-saving medical supplies via WFP’s Pacific Humanitarian Air Service.

The WFP-managed Pacific Humanitarian Air Service transported more than 15,000 kilograms of medical cargo on behalf of WHO from Manila, Philippines, to Nadi, Fiji. The flight arrived in Fiji on Friday, 13 August, carrying 75 oxygen concentrators and accessories, 1000 pulse oximeters, 100,000 gowns and 100,000 N95 masks from WHO’s regional emergency stockpile.

The supplies are brought in at the request of Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services and will be used to treat COVID-19 patients, while ensuring the safety of frontline healthcare workers. Support from Australia, the European Union and the United States made the flight possible.

“Thanks to this Humanitarian Air Service flight, these supplies have arrived at just the right moment to provide a critical boost to our arsenal as we face our biggest battle yet against this virus,” said Dr James Fong, Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Health. “They say that true friends are those who stand by you when times are tough and I know I speak on behalf of the rest of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and our brave frontline health workers when I say ‘thank you’ to WFP and WHO for your ongoing support. These donations will be put to immediate use to assist our frontline teams in delivering the response and will make an impact on the health care provided to the COVID-19 patients they treat.”

“With the spread of the Delta variant in Fiji, it is crucial now more than ever to strengthen our collective response and support healthcare workers on the frontlines of this crisis,” said Jo Pilgrim, Director of WFP’s Pacific Multi-Country Office. “WFP is pleased to be able to support WHO and the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services with the expedited delivery of this critical equipment.”

WHO’s acting Representative to the South Pacific, Dr Akeem Ali, characterized the support provided by the Humanitarian Air Service as ‘invaluable’:

“At a time like this, we cannot afford a single delay in getting medical supplies into Fiji. WFP’s support has been essential in getting the right equipment and supplies into the country at the right time so that it can support Fiji’s health workers as they work tirelessly to save lives,” Dr Ali continued.

The WFP-managed Pacific Humanitarian Air Service supports organizations and Pacific governments responding to the COVID-19 pandemic with transportation for urgently required cargo when commercial options are not available. Over the last year, the Pacific Humanitarian Air Service has operated 30 flights, transporting a total of 250,000 kilograms of vital cargo to 14 Pacific Island countries and territories in need of crucial medical and relief supplies. Seventy-three humanitarian personnel have also been transported across the region.

About WFP:

The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change. Follow us on Twitter @WFPAsiaPacific

About WHO:

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the United Nation’s specialized agency for international public health. In the Pacific, WHO’s Division of Pacific Technical Support provides tailored, timely support to 21 Pacific island countries and areas. Our main office is in Suva, Fiji, and the Division has six other offices across the region: The Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Original article here.

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