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Japan and UNICEF partnership to support COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Solomon Islands

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Honiara, 22 October 2021 – Today, the Government of Japan and UNICEF have handed over four four-wheel drive vehicles to the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services to boost vaccination efforts in the country. An additional vehicle and 14 long-range high horse powered boats are expected to be delivered over the next few weeks.

Logistics, especially transport, remains an impediment towards swift roll out of COVID-19 vaccines across the country. Delivering the thousands of these vaccines for the entire country involve hugely logistical challenges and programmatic obstacle along the way. There are instances of groups of vaccinators having to wait for hours for pickup to move to another community or vaccination site to administer the vaccines simply because the only transport is also transporting other vaccination teams. Time waiting is time wasted; therefore, these vehicles will greatly enable us to roll out the vaccines more effectively and efficiently,” said the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Mrs. Pauline McNeil, upon receiving the vehicles.

“Thank you to the government and people of Japan for the generosity with provision of funds through UNICEF for the vehicles and UNICEF for the procurement, shipment and delivery of these four four-wheel drive vehicles. The vehicles will be distributed one each to Isabel, Malaita, Honiara City Council and National Medical Store.”

These supplies, including 80 cold boxes and 50 solar refrigerators, which arrived earlier on, are expected to support the Solomon Islands Government drive to vaccinate all the eligible population through strengthening the cold chain management system.

The supplies will help deliver life-saving vaccines to health facilities and communities, including those in remote islands, providing a significant improvement to the health system.

The Ambassador of Japan to Solomon Islands, His Excellency, MORIMOTO Yasuhiro, thank UNICEF for the partnership and a job well done in the procurement, shipment and delivery of the vehicles. “This assistance is Japan’s contribution and partnership with UNICEF to the global effort in the fight to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially in Solomon Islands. I hope that with this assistance, the Solomon Islands government will continue with its effort to successfully roll out its vaccination programs for all Solomon Islanders to be vaccinated and stay safe from COVID-19.”

H.E. Ambassador MORIMOTO Yasuhiro concluded his statement by conveying his strong support and appreciation to the hard working front-liners who have worked tirelessly around the clock to ensure Solomon Islands is free from COVID-19 and also their commitment, dedication and willingness to be front-liners in the fight against the global pandemic is commendable.

“Japan will continue to work hand in hand with Solomon Islands to further strengthen our partnership and effort to fight against the global pandemic head on.”

While Solomon Islands has not had any community transmission, the global pandemic still presents a serious risk to the country, with the limited resources available to fight the deadly disease.

“We thank the Government of Japan for its continued and strengthened partnership with UNICEF to support Solomon Islands through this global pandemic,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Jonathan Veitch. “We will continue to work with the Solomon Islands Government, and partners, to ensure that the health system is well prepared to keep children as well as communities safe and protected.”

UNICEF has been working closely with the Solomon Islands Government to help prevent the introduction and spread of the virus among communities. This includes supporting the vital procurement of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility as well as providing technical and financial resources for the roll out of vaccination in the country.

Notes to Editors:

This funding is part of the broader Japanese Emergency Grant Aid of approximately USD 41 million to 25 countries in Southeast and Southwest Asia and the Pacific (approximately USD 9 million to 10 Pacific Island Countries). The 25 countries include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

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:

Atenia Tahu, Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services,Tel: +677 7478857, ATahu@moh.gov.sb

Norimasa Yoshida, Embassy of Japan in Solomon Islands, norimasa.yoshida@mofa.go.jp

Zubnah Khan, UNICEF Pacific, Tel: +679 9988137, zukhan@unicef.org

Media contacts

Zubnah Khan
Communication Officer
UNICEF Pacific
Tel: +679 330 0439 Ext. 175
Tel: 9988137 Email: zukhan@unicef.org