Funafuti, The Government of Japan and UNICEF have handed over two 4×4 vehicles to the Tuvalu Ministry of Health, Social Welfare and Gender Affairs to boost COVID-19 vaccination efforts in the country and protect communities against severe symptomatic illness from the virus.

 

In addition, the vehicles will also improve the reach of universal health care, beyond COVID-19 vaccination.

 

“The vehicles will be used by the Public Health Department to support and facilitate its various immunization community outreach programmes and COVID-19 immunization activities,” said Tuvalu’s Ministry of Health, Social Welfare and Gender Affairs’ Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Lilypeti Faavae. “On behalf of the Government of Tuvalu, the Ministry of Health, Social Welfare and Gender affairs values its partnership with the Government of Japan and UNICEF, and would like to once again, extend its most sincere gratitude to them for their continued support during these challenging times.”

 

These vehicles and accessories are in addition to the five Honda motorcycles and helmets which arrived earlier on to support the Government’s drive to vaccinate all the eligible population, through strengthening the cold chain management system. The transportation will help deliver life-saving vaccines to health facilities and communities in the country as well as conduct other operational activities.

 

“I am pleased to say that through this UNICEF joint project, we, Japan, already provided Tuvalu with five motorcycles, and have provided two 4×4 vehicles this time. The total project contribution of US$9 million is fully funded by the Government of Japan. Apart from that, we are also providing cold chain equipment such as ultra-low temperature freezers and ambulance from our bilateral support project worth about US$900,000,” said the Ambassador of Japan to Tuvalu, KAWAKAMI Fumihiro.

 

“These projects are aimed at ensuring equitable access and swift distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Tuvalu. Since early 2021, Japan has been putting importance on providing cold chain equipment in all over the world. This initiative is named ‘Last One Mile Support’ which ensures the delivery of vaccines to vaccination sites so that COVID-19 vaccines reach each and every person. I believe that these Japan’s multilateral and respective bilateral cooperation programmes will be working in sync to deliver tangible assistance for enhancing nationwide COVID-19 response strategies of Tuvalu and the global health coverage,” the Ambassador added.

 

Ambassador KAWAKAMI also commended the leadership of the Tuvalu Government and the individual effort of all Tuvaluans in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

So far, 86 per cent of Tuvalu’s population have received their full COVID-19 vaccination, with 82 per cent also having had a first booster and 17 per cent a second booster.

 

UNICEF and the Government of Japan have been working closely with the Government of Tuvalu and other Pacific Island countries to help keep the virus at bay among communities. This includes providing technical and financial resources for the roll out of vaccination in the country.

 

Notes to Editors:

 

This funding is part of the broader Japanese Emergency Grant Aid of approximately USD 41 million to 25 countries in Southeast and Southwest Asia and the Pacific (approximately USD 9 million to 10 Pacific Island Countries). The 25 countries include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

 

About the Government of Japan:

 

Japan provides funds (grants, loans, etc.) and technologies that are useful for “development”, including peacebuilding, governance, promotion of basic human rights and humanitarian assistance, in the form of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to eligible countries and regions. ODA includes bilateral aid to directly assist developing countries and regions, and multilateral aid, which consist of contributions to international organizations such as UNICEF, UNDP, and WHO.

 

Source: UN Children’s Fund