Japan pledges $1.8m to Samoa's COVID19 response

Japan has pledged US$643,061 ($1.82m) to assist the Samoan government procure medical equipment in its coronavirus pandemic response.

An official signing ceremony between the Japanese Ambassador, Terasawa Genichi and the Minister of Health, Faimalotoa Kika Stowers, formalised the arrangement under Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grass-Roots Human Security Projects (G.G.P.).

This was highlighted in a press release issued by the Japanese Embassy on Wednesday.

According to the media statement, the grant will assist the Samoan Government in a project implementation of procuring a range of medical equipment including ambulances for countermeasure against infectious diseases such as Measles and COVID-19.

“The health sector had faced inadequate medical supplies and equipment to combat the measles epidemic last year,” the statement reads.

Japan acknowledged the importance of proper equipment in the health sector.

“The occasion is the evident manifestation that Japan’s continuous support and firm commitment towards improving quality and quantity of medical equipment for effective health services.

“It is hope that upon the completion of the project Japan’s GGP can provide people of Samoa with necessary and adequate medical equipment that will significantly contribute to preparedness and response to outbreak of infectious diseases as well as improving healthcare services.”

So far, Samoa does not have a confirmed case of coronavirus.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said that samples of 12 suspected cases of coronavirus in Samoa have been flown to New Zealand for testing.

The samples were taken on Tuesday utilising a medical evacuation flight which had flown in from New Zealand to pick up a patient at the Faleolo International Airport.

The samples had been stored at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital lab and were intended to be tested when testing kits from China arrived. 

To date, the testing kits have not arrived. 

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