UNICEF provides life-saving medical equipment and medicine to Vanuatu’s children
22 March 2015 - UNICEF and partners have been called upon by the Vanuatu Ministry of Health to respond to the emergency situation following Super Tropical Cyclone Pam. As part of its response UNICEF today provided Interagency Emergency Health Kits in order to prevent and manage serious threats to the survival and health of the children of Ambrym, one of Vanuatu’s most affected islands. The kits include medical equipment and medicines sufficient for 5000 people over a three-month period.
UNICEF’s implementing partner, IMC (International Medical Corps), will dispatch these kits along with mobile medical units, including doctors and local nurses, to Ambrym.
The eastern side of Vanuatu, where Ambrym is located, has been very affected by Cyclone Pam, as it was directly under its path. Since most roads have been damaged on the island, IMC will travel by boat from one community to another.
“Health facilities there have been moderately to severely damaged” explains Jacob Schafer, IMC Vanuatu Emergency Response Coordinator, while loading UNICEF’s medical supplies on to a truck.
“Many people there have no access to medical assistance, especially since most roads are blocked. Within two weeks, with UNICEF’s Health kit supplies, we will be able to deliver primary health care to the entire island of Ambrym. We will be working through the existing health care system, or at least what is left of it, avoiding duplication”.
The concept of the emergency health kit has been adopted by many organisations, including UNICEF, as a reliable, standardised, affordable and quickly available source of the essential medicines and medical devices urgently needed in a disaster situation.
Gaelle Sevenier, UNICEF Communication Specialist Consultant