E.U. funds plane to bring in medical equipment

By Fuimaono Lumepa Hald 03 May 2022, 9:41PM

Local health authorities’ campaign to contain the spread of COVID-19 has received a major boost with a plane flying in medical equipment and supplies on Monday.

The medical equipment and supplies for Samoa’s Ministry of Health (MOH) comes courtesy of the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) and were transported to Samoa from Fiji by the United Nations World Food Programme (W.F.P.) through its Pacific Humanitarian Air Service, with funding support from the European Union.

Samoa’s Minister for Health, Valasi Tafito Selesele, expressed his appreciation on behalf of the Samoa Government and people to the WHO, the WFP and the EU for the funding support.

“They say that it is in times of crisis that your true friends are revealed, and WHO, WFP and the EU have shown themselves to be true friends indeed to Samoa – not just in this latest delivery of supplies, but in their ongoing tremendous support for our COVID-19 preparedness and response,” Valasi said in a statement.  

“This equipment and medical supplies will be used by Samoan health workers around the country as they continue to test and treat patients and to remain safe themselves as they save lives.

The W.H.O. Representative to Samoa, Dr Kim Eva Dickson, said there was an urgent need to get the equipment and supplies to the health workers in Samoa but transport was a challenge.

“We knew we needed to get this equipment and supplies into health workers’ hands here in Samoa, but getting it here was going to be a challenge, due to limited flights and inflated shipping costs,” Dr Kim said. “Thankfully, we spoke with our colleagues at WFP and with support from the EU, they made this flight possible.”

Alpha Bah, Director of WFP’s Pacific Multi-Country Office, said they were just pleased to join forces to fly in the vital equipment and supplies. 

“As COVID-19 begins to spread in Samoa, it is absolutely critical to bring these life-saving supplies to the frontlines of the crisis,” Mr Bah said in a staement. “WFP is pleased to join forces with WHO in support of the Ministry of Health’s efforts in containing the spread of the virus. 

“We thank the EU for its ongoing support to the Pacific Humanitarian Air Service. 

“Generous funding has enabled WFP and our partners to send flights to 15 Pacific countries so far.”

The EU provides extensive support to WHO’s COVID-19 response in the Pacific, both financially and as a partner in the Pacific COVID-19 Joint Incident Management Team.

The EU Ambassador for the Pacific and to Samoa, Sujiro Seam, said the pandemic is a global challenge that required a global response.

“In the Pacific, the EU redirected €20 million to WHO, WFP and the Pacific Community to help countries fight COVID-19 outbreaks on their shores,” Mr Seam said in a statement. “These resources continue to strengthen medical systems to respond to COVID-19. 

“I am happy that the EU can now contribute to the assistance provided to Samoa, with the hope that the situation will improve soon.”

The 15-tonne delivery consists of 280,000 surgical masks, 248,300 gloves, 72,000 gowns, 30,000 N95 masks, 10,300 face shields, 6000 COVID-19 testing cartridges, 3000 pulse oximeters and 50 oxygen concentrators for Samoa from WHO’s regional stockpile. Further items including oxygen concentrators, pulse oximeters and testing supplies also arrived on the plane to be sent by boat to neighbouring Tokelau.

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By Fuimaono Lumepa Hald 03 May 2022, 9:41PM
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