Japan, UNICEF join fight against COVID-19

By Adel Fruean 29 July 2021, 6:00AM

Pacific Island countries including Samoa will benefit from a partnership between the Government of Japan and UNICEF to support the nation’s COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts.

In a statement issued this week by the UNICEF, the United Nations agency and the Japan government have announced a new US$20.8 million partnership.

The partnership aims to support Pacific Island governments with their COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts.

The eligible Pacific nations are: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

This support, in collaboration with UNICEF, follows the declaration earlier this month by the Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga at the 9th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM9) to support COVID-19 measures for the Pacific Island countries.

The new project will promote water, sanitation, and hygiene in healthcare facilities through better access, improved infection prevention training and distribution of essential supplies including environmental cleaning and basic non-medical personal protective equipment.

“In addition to water, sanitation and hygiene support, this project aims for a strong routine immunisation programme that will lead to a more effective COVID-19 preparedness and response plan,” read the statement. 

Also, health workers will be supported through essential trainings to deliver COVID-19 vaccines and maintain cold chain equipment and in-country distribution of vaccines.

Through this funding support, Pacific Island countries will engage communities on the importance of being vaccinated to save lives as well as tackle misinformation. 

Healthcare workers will also be provided technical support in using digital tools to help in the reporting and monitoring of the COVID-19 vaccination.

This four-year project continues the strong partnership Japan has with UNICEF to improve the lives of all children and their families living throughout the Pacific region.

Japan provides funds (grants, loans, etc.) and technologies that are useful for “development”, including peacebuilding, governance, promotion of basic human rights and humanitarian assistance, in the form of Official Development Assistance (O.D.A.) to eligible countries and regions.

The O.D.A. includes bilateral aid to directly assist developing countries and regions, and multilateral aid, which consist of contributions to international organizations such as UNICEF, UNDP and the World Health Organisation.

By Adel Fruean 29 July 2021, 6:00AM
Samoa Observer

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