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Five new medical ventilators officially handed over to the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health

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(From Left) UNDP Solomon Islands Country Manager, Berdi Berdiyev; NRH CEO (ag) Dr. John Hue; Deputy Australian High Commissioner Ms. Sally-Anne Vincent; MHMS executive members and NRH nurses with WHO Solomon Islands Country Representative, Dr. Sevil Huseynova and MHMS Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Pauline McNeil (front right). © UNDP

Honiara, Solomon Islands - Five new medical ventilators have been officially handed to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) this morning to strengthen its COVID-19 preparedness.

With funds provided from the Government of Australia, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and support from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and its global procurement system, successfully procured the new ventilators as part of ongoing support towards the Solomon Islands’s efforts against COVID-19.

Ventilators are critical medical equipment providing artificial respiration and mechanical movements of the lung for patients who cannot breathe by themselves due to respiratory related conditions. With Covid-19 global pandemic, ventilators have been used globally to manage patients suffering from the severe effects of COVID-19.

Deputy Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Sally-Anne Vincent said that Australia was pleased to provide SB$1 million for the five new ventilators as part of its broader support to Solomon Islands’ COVID-19 preparedness and response.

“These ventilators are a vital component of the health system’s COVID-19 management and response. The five machines will help support patients that present respiratory difficulties, which will be critical in the event of a potential COVID-19 outbreak,” said Ms. Vincent.

“Procuring medical equipment at this time can be difficult with limited global stocks available. I would like to acknowledge the tireless work of our partners, WHO and UNDP, for the successful delivery of these ventilators.”

Due to the high global demand and shortage of supplies of ventilators worldwide, it is increasingly difficult to procure small numbers of ventilators. As such, UNDP in Solomon Islands had assisted WHO to procure and ship the five ventilators to Honiara.

UNDP Country Manager, Berdi Berdiyev, in his remarks reiterated the commitment to supporting the Solomon Islands Government in its COVID19 preparedness efforts.

“The magnitude and scope of this pandemic can only be tackled effectively if all stakeholders within SIG institutions, the UN, development partners and other partners work side by side to keep this country safe. UNDP views today’s event as an excellent example of such collaboration," said Mr. Berdiyev.

WHO Solomon Islands Country Representative, Dr. Sevil Huseynova, acknowledged UNDP for the support in procuring the ventilators and also the funding support from Australia.

Dr. Huseynova said, “The delivery of the ventilators today would not have been possible without the support received as such, I wish to thank UNDP for assisting WHO to procure the five ventilators and the Australian Government for its ongoing funding support towards WHO’s commitment to purchase the ventilators and preserve and enhance the health of Solomon Islanders.”

“These five new ventilators are part of WHO’s overall COVID-19 response procurement plan to support the Ministry of Health and Medical Services. I would also like to assure that WHO will continue to provide the necessary supplies, medical equipment, mobilizing of financial resources and relevant technical assistance to support the implementation of the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan,” said Dr. Huseynova.

WHO will be providing technical support to facilitate clinical and ventilator user training for health care workers so that they can operate, maintain and use the ventilators appropriately.

Receiving the ventilators, MHMS Permanent Secretary Pauline McNeil acknowledged the combined effort to procure and ship the ventilators over to Solomon Islands.

“I thank you all especially our donors and development partners, the Australian Government, UNDP and WHO for your continuous support, the ventilators delivered today is part of your overall COVID-19 support that we continue to remain grateful of,” said Mrs. McNeil.

“Whilst work on preventing entry and any possible spread or community transmission of COVID-19 is ongoing preparations on managing cases of COVID-19 is also of great importance and these five new ventilators will greatly enhance our preparations in this regard,” she added.

Mrs. McNeil also stated that the new ventilators can also be used in the time being to assist other patients suffering from other health conditions which requires respiratory support.

With the handover of the five new ventilators, the country now has seven ventilators.

Contact information:

Australian High Commission Media Unit, tel. (677) 21561 or email: sImedia@dfat.gov.au;

UNDP SOI Communication Specialist, Ednal Palmer, tel: (677) 27446 or email: ednal.palmer@undp.org;

WHO EMT Coordinator, Barbara Daufanamae, tel: (677) 23406 or email daufanamaeb@who.int;