ADB and UNICEF support Fijian frontline healthcare workers with over 20,000 COVID-19 testing kits

01 March 2021
Handover event of the testing kits
UNICEFPacific/2021/Wong

SUVA, FIJI (1 March 2021) - UNICEF, together with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), handed over 22,220 Cepheid GeneXpert test kits to the Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services today as part of the Government of Fiji’s efforts to strengthen the country’s COVID-19 prevention activities, and safe continuation of essential basic services.

“This timely donation will ensure increasing surveillance through our communities across Fiji and will boost confidence among our neighbours on the safety of our shore as a tourist destination going forward,” said the Hon. Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete. “I am very grateful to our donor partners for their esteemed effort in availing these test kits to the Ministry.”

The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests are extremely accurate, and work by quickly identifying the unique genetic profile of the COVID-19 virus. This will help build the capacity of the local health system to manage COVID-19 cases as well as limit transmission.

“As we move towards COVID-19 recovery, testing will become increasingly important and these testing kits are a vital tool to help stop the virus in its tracks,” said the Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Subregional Office in Fiji, Masayuki Tachiiri. “We will continue to work with our partners to help Pacific countries better respond to COVID-19.”

“These COVID-19 testing kits will support frontline healthcare workers in Fiji to safely provide services to the community to ensure that any potential cases are immediately detected,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Pacific Representative. “We thank the ADB for the funding support to provide these tests to the Fijian COVID-19 response. We also appreciate the Government of Fiji’s leadership in strengthening the critical services that healthcare workers provide.”

ADB provided 20,000 of the test kits at a cost of USD396,000, while UNICEF provided the remaining 2,220 at a cost of USD43,000. The kits were financed through an ADB grant of USD7.9 million to UNICEF to support Pacific Island countries in their preparedness and response plans for COVID-19 as well as UNICEF core resources.

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Notes to Editors:

About the Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services:

The Fijian Health Ministry remains firmly committed to maintain a high standard of efficient, equitable, accessible and affordable health care service delivery to all Fijians through maintaining the Universal Health Coverage by leaving no one behind.

About ADB:

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members - 49 from the region.

For more information, please contact:

Sunil Chandra, Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services, sunil.chandra@health.gov.fj

Sally Shute-Trembath, ADB Pacific, Tel: +612 82709444, sshute-trembath@adb.org

Zubnah Khan, UNICEF Pacific, Tel: +679 9988137, zukhan@unicef.org

Media contacts

Zubnah Khan
Communication Officer
UNICEF Pacific
Tel: +679 330 0439 Ext. 175
Tel: 9988137

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit https://www.unicef.org/pacificislands/

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