Last month, the Pacific Community (SPC) supplied 20 Hamilton ventilators to 11 Pacific Islands Countries and Territories (PICTs). These ventilators will enable PICTs to manage critically ill patients that need respiratory care.
PICTs receiving these ventilators are the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, the Republic of Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
This comes as a response to a need identified in March 2020, in a critical care capacity assessment conducted by SPC. The assessment reported that PICTs lacked intensive care unit (ICU) equipment as well as the workforce needed to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings highlighted that ICUs were not well equipped with ventilators and intensive care resources to support patient respiratory care.
The provision of this life-saving equipment was made possible thanks to funding from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and through collaborative efforts from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), supported by the Asia Development Bank (ADB).
In addition, virtual training sessions on the setup, installation and use of these Hamilton ventilators facilitated by Device Technology Australia have been organized. Clinicians, biomedical technicians, and nurses who participated in these trainings reported that they were able to learn and understand the function and set up of ventilators including biomedical support. An added advantage of virtual trainings meant that they would have access to recorded sessions should they need to review learnings around the use of ventilators.
Silina Motofaga, SPC’s Public Health Division Clinical Services Adviser said “Our critical care capacity assessment provided us the opportunity to fill the gaps and strengthen health service delivery particularly in ICUs. Given that some PICTs were already reporting confirmed COVID-19 cases when cases first reached our region, we saw the need for other PICTs to be prepared and have available resources such as ventilators and ICU equipment to support critically ill patients”.
SPC will continue to provide and facilitate ongoing support for the Hamilton ventilators virtually when required by PICTs as part of its efforts to assist the region with COVID-19 preparedness and response plans.