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ADB, Japan, UNICEF hand over medical supplies to Fiji for COVID-19 response

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SUVA, FIJI (28 August 2020) - Personal protective equipment and other medical supplies financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Japan, and procured by UNICEF, were today delivered to Fiji to strengthen the country’s capacity to respond to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The Health Ministry welcomes this timely donation and we extend our sincere gratitude to the donors and our development partners who have always been a power of strength in difficult times such as this. This donation will greatly assist the frontline healthcare workers to protect the borders and stop the spread of the infection in the community,” said the Hon. Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete.

The ADB and Government of Japan financed supplies include masks, face shields, coveralls and gowns to improve infection prevention control, as well as biomedical devices such as thermometers, oxygen concentrators and electrocardiogram recorders to improve the clinical management of COVID-19 patients. These supplies will also ensure that frontline healthcare workers are well equipped as well as protected from potential infections and enable the undisrupted delivery of essential services to the communities they serve.

“Health care workers play a vital role in stopping the virus in its tracks, yet at the same time they are most at risk of contracting it,” said Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Subregional Office in Fiji, Mr. Masayuki Tachiiri. “We will continue to work with our partners to help protect these workers at the frontline of Fiji’s COVID-19 response.”

The supplies, arriving in staggered shipments, will help build the capacity of the local health system to manage COVID-19 cases as well as limit transmission. A batch of these supplies was handed over to the Government of Fiji today.

“At this juncture, I would commend the Fijian Government for its sound leadership in effectively guiding the nation through the challenges of COVID-19. I understand that the Ministry of Health and Medical Services has been working tirelessly at the front line to keep us all safe,” said the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan, H.E. OMURA Masahiro.

“These supplies will support frontline healthcare workers to safely provide services to about 890,000 people, including children. We thank ADB and the Government of Japan for the support provided to the hardworking healthcare workers in the country. We also appreciate Government of Fiji’s partnership to continue to strengthen the critical services that these healthcare workers provide,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Pacific Representative.

The funding comes from an ADB grant of $7.9 million and a $3 million grant from the Government of Japan to UNICEF to support Pacific Island countries in their preparedness and response plans for COVID-19.

Notes to Editors:

About the Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services:

The Fijian Health Ministry remains firmly committed to maintain a high standard of efficient, equitable, accessible and affordable health care service delivery to all Fijians through maintaining the Universal Health Coverage by leaving no one behind.

About ADB:

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members - 49 from the region.

About the Government of Japan:

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 (ODA) to eligible countries and regions. ODA 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 WHO.

For more information, please contact:

Sunil Chandra, Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services,

Sally Shute-Trembath, ADB Pacific, Tel: +612 82709444,

Peni Saurara, Embassy of Japan in Fiji, +679 3304633, or

Zubnah Khan, UNICEF Pacific, Tel: +679 7157586,

Asian Development Bank: © Asian Development Bank