SUVA, FIJI 26 July 2021 – This week, UNICEF and the Government of Japan announce a new US$20.8 million partnership to support Pacific Island governments with their COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts. The partnership covers support to the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
“The Government of Japan is aware of how hard Pacific Island governments are working to protect the population from COVID-19. We have supported Pacific Islands governments through a bilateral grant for medical equipment procurement (US$37 million), as well as supported this region through various international organizations, which includes the contribution to COVAX Facility (US$1 billion), support for the procurement of cold chain equipment through UNICEF (US$9 million). In addition to that, we have decided to support the region through UNICEF in this global fight,” said H.E. Mr. KAWAKAMI Fumihiro, the Ambassador of Japan in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu. “This support follows the declaration by the Prime Minister of Japan, H.E. SUGA Yoshihide, at the 9th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM9) held on 2nd July, to support COVID-19 measures for the Pacific Island countries.”
This partnership will support the enhancement of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in healthcare facilities through better access, improved infection prevention training and distribution of essential supplies including environmental cleaning and basic non-medical personal protective equipment.
In addition to WASH support, this project will boost ongoing efforts to strengthen effective COVID-19 vaccination coverage as well as routine immunisation. Health workers will be supported through essential trainings to deliver COVID-19 vaccines and maintain cold chain equipment and in-country distribution of vaccines.
With Japan’s financial support, Pacific Island countries will engage communities on the importance of being vaccinated to save lives as well as tackle misinformation. Healthcare workers will also be provided technical support in using digital tools to help in the reporting and monitoring of COVID-19 vaccination coverage.
“Financial support from the Government of Japan has been instrumental in our joint efforts to address the adverse impact of the pandemic to children and communities, as well as the on-going threat that COVID-19 continues to pose across the Pacific,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett. “We will continue to work with the Pacific Island governments, and other partners, to ensure health systems are well equipped to respond appropriately to the needs of communities, including children, during this challenging time.”
This four-year project continues the strong partnership Japan has with UNICEF to improve the lives of all children and their families living throughout the Pacific region. The assistance from this grant will be delivered to Pacific Island countries according to their specific preparedness and response needs.