May 8 2022

Today the U.S. Embassy Chargé D’Affaires Tony Greubel formally handed over critical care consumables to Permanent Secretary Dr. James Fong of Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services to boost the Fiji Government’s campaign against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pacific Community (SPC) in collaboration with FHI 360, through funding support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) procured these critical care health supplies for use with life-saving ventilators distributed throughout the country.

Chargé Greubel said, “The United States is proud of the partnership that we have built with the Ministry of Health to respond to COVID-19 in Fiji.  We firmly believe that this strong partnership and collaboration was critical to the efforts to combat COVID -19 and will pave the way to building a strengthened and resilient nation that is ready to face future challenges.”

In September 2020, USAID donated 30 ZOLL ventilators to Fiji, and these were placed in intensive care units (ICU) and high dependency units (HDU) to support COVID-19 patients who need mechanical assistance in breathing.  The additional critical care supplies USAID donated today will support the ongoing use and sustainability of the ventilators and management of critically ill patients.

Permanent Secretary for the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Dr James Fong said that they worked as a nation to achieve today’s outcome, but this would not have been possible without the continuous support we receive from our international and region donors and partners. “Today’s handover is important because we are receiving USAID funded critical care consumables that will be used to support the longevity of the equipment already in use.”

Through the Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control project in Fiji, Kiribati, and Nauru, USAID, and the Pacific Community (SPC), together with FHI 360, have been providing technical assistance in biomedical and critical care trainings for COVID-19 on the ground in Fiji and virtually in Kiribati and Nauru.  USAID provided a total of 50 ZOLL ventilators that were distributed to six facility level hospitals across the three countries to respond to managing COVID-19 critically ill patients.  Additionally, 211 healthcare workers participated in specialised training for COVID-19 case management.

SPC’s Team Leader for Clinical Services Programme Dr Silina Motofaga said, “From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, SPC has been working remotely and supporting Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs), while recently deploying health experts to PICTs such as Kiribati, Tonga, and Vanuatu. Through this project we will continue to support and assist countries to strengthen their clinical services.”