United Nations agency, World Bank assist Samoa

The United Nations Office for Project Services and the World Bank have announced a joint partnership to support Samoa's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The assistance from the U.N.O.P.S. and the World Bank will see the procuring of US$2.3 million worth of laboratory equipment and medical supplies to support the country’s COVID-19 pandemic emergency response.

In a statement jointly released by the U.N.O.P.S. and the World Bank, they said the emergency assistance aims to strengthen the quality and efficiency of healthcare services, and to save lives and preserve livelihoods in the wake of the pandemic.

Furthermore, the U.N.O.P.S. is carrying out the procurement of laboratory equipment, personal protective equipment and essential medical supplies for Samoa’s Ministry of Health with funding from the World Bank.

The U.N.O.P.S. is the United Nation’s infrastructure and procurement agency. By providing rapid and effective procurement services in a complex and remote environment, U.N.O.P.S. stated that it is supporting the Samoa Government’s efforts to improve access to quality healthcare during the pandemic.

In addition, under this project, U.N.O.P.S. is also responsible for coordination, planning and monitoring, and provision of logistical management within the country.

The U.N.O.P.S. Director for Thailand, Indonesia and the Pacific, Samina Kadwani, said that recognizing the challenges and vulnerabilities associated with the spread of COVID-19 in Samoa, in collaboration with the Government of Samoa and the World Bank, they have taken immediate action to strengthen surveillance capacity at hospitals and healthcare centres to timely prevent, detect and respond to the threat posed by the potential spread of the virus.

As a result of this cooperation, the first medical supplies and a Polymerase Chain Reaction (P.C.R.) machine was handed over to the M.O.H. to be used in the country’s health care system.

Also, waste management solutions for the safe disposal of hazardous medical waste will also be procured through the project, thus strengthening the country’s public health care waste management system.

“U.N.O.P.S. assistance addresses medical needs and supports Samoa’s COVID-19 preparation and prevention efforts,” added Ms. Kadwani.

While U.N.O.P.S. is supporting health-related responses around the world and helping countries to address social and economic issues stemming from COVID-19 mitigation measures, the work being done in the Pacific is unique. 

Although parts of the Pacific-region have remained free from COVID-19 cases, there is still a lot of support needed to help the region’s relatively low capacity for healthcare, which stems from limited resources, high-rates of non-communicable diseases, remoteness and highly vulnerable natural environments.

Within the Pacific region, in addition to support for Samoa, the U.N.O.P.S. also partners with the World Bank and carries out COVID-19 mitigation operations in Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia. 

This assistance helps scale-up health capacity and address both immediate needs as well as respond to the longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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