Australia promises continued health support

Australia’s top diplomat to Samoa has assured Australia will continue to support Samoa and strengthen its health infrastructure to enable the country to respond effectively to the pandemic and other health challenges.

Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, Sara Moriarty said in an email response to the Samoa Observer that Australia’s investment in global organisations such as UNAIDS and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will support increased HIV testing and prevention services for key populations across the Indo-Pacific region including Samoa.

“Ensuring continued access to essential health services, such as HIV testing and prevention, during the COVID-19 pandemic is critical to the health security of the region,” she said.

“Australia will continue to support Samoa to strengthen its health systems to respond to COVID-19 as well as the ongoing communicable and non-communicable disease burden.

“Our health program in Samoa supports improvements to access and quality of sexual and reproductive health services, particularly for vulnerable individuals and households; public health surveillance and health information systems.”

Ms Moriarty’s assurance comes on the back of an announcement by the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Australia has played a key role in reinvigorating the global AIDS response by helping achieve a new global commitment on the way forward.

Australian support will ensure continued access to HIV testing and prevention in the region with an investment of AU$11.65 million specifically targeting key populations in the Indo-Pacific region.

Australia and Namibia co-facilitated the Political Declaration adopted at the United Nations General Assembly High-level Meeting (HLM) on HIV/AIDS, which sets ambitious targets to guide the global AIDS response for the next five years.

The Political Declaration commits member states to addressing the inequalities driving the AIDS epidemic and the stigma and discrimination faced by people at risk of, living with or affected by HIV.

This investment with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS will support community-led organisations in prevention and testing services and address inequality, stigma and discrimination, which remain a barrier for key populations.

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