Australian Ambassador to Manila Steven J. Robinson AO announced that Canberra has increased its commitment to COVID-19 vaccine access and delivery in the Philippines by AUD$11.5 million, as an additional 100 oxygen concentrators and associated consumables were turned over to the Philippine officials yesterday.
The Australian COVID-19 support to the Philippines for 2021-2023 now totals to AUD$ 47.49 million or approximately P1.79 billion.
Robinson made the announcement as he handed over to DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III and National Task Force Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez Jr. the second donation of 100 oxygen concentrators from the Australian government.
Australia has donated a total of 200 oxygen concentrators and associated consumables to the Philippines.
The first donation of 100 oxygen concentrators and associated consumables were handed over on August 28 and were allocated across 27 hospitals and health centers in the National Capital Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley Region, Zamboanga Peninsula, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
The DOH will allocate Australia’s second donation of 100 oxygen concentrators and associated consumables to hospitals and health centers according to need.
There is currently a global shortage of this critical medical equipment as many countries continue to deal with a high number of COVID-19 cases.
“I am very pleased that the Australian Government is able to make an important contribution to the Philippines COVID-19 response and vaccine access and delivery needs,” the Ambassador said.
Robinson said “this new commitment of approximately P433 million will increase the number of Australian-funded vaccine doses that will be procured by UNICEF for the Philippines, and will significantly expand our vaccine delivery support, which is helping ensure that doses reach priority groups and vulnerable Filipinos across the country.”
“I am delighted that some of our vaccine delivery support is already making an impact in the Philippines. For example, using Australia’s funding, UNICEF is delivering and installing eight walk-in cold rooms and related equipment to improve the safe storage and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines in vulnerable regions; while the World Health Organizations providing 4,500 mobile tablets and wireless keyboards to Local Government Units in remote regions, to enhance their capacity to distribute COVID-19 vaccines.”
To date, Australia’s comprehensive COVID-19 vaccine delivery support to the Philippines has also trained 600 healthcare workers and more than 300 local community leaders to communicate the importance of COVID-19 vaccines to Filipinos.
“We will continue to work with the Philippine Government and delivery partners to help meet the needs of the Philippines. Our ongoing co-operation underscores the strong partnership that Australia and the Philippines have shared over the last 75 years.”