Health services are more important than ever
The fight is not over in 2022. Many nations across the Blue Pacific are confronting COVID-19 and its destructive variants for the first time.
COVID-19 threatens to overwhelm local hospitals and devastate entire health systems. Some of our partners have had to suspend service delivery. While this is necessary to protect their communities, it unfortunately leaves many people without access to life saving and life changing interventions, supplies and education.
Your support in strengthening and resourcing health services is more urgent than ever. Combating COVID-19 is a high priority, but we also want to ensure that vulnerable people needing services are not left behind. Early intervention and follow up care are essential for many to maintain their health and wellbeing.
What we can do
We are in close communication with our partners as the crisis unfolds and we are ready to adapt to their changing circumstances. After talking with partners, it is clear that we can add value to their work on the front line.
Three actions that we are currently exploring with partners include:
- Procuring essential supplies (such as PPE)
- Developing resources to support self-care (such as infection control procedures)
- Expanding telehealth capacity.
By donating today, you invest in our partners, giving them the mobility to adapt and resume serving their communities the way they know is best.
Stories from the Pacific
Across the Pacific, several of our key contacts have contracted COVID-19. Some have been hospitalised. We wish a speedy recovery to all affected partners and their families and communities.
The Solomon Islands
After their first COVID-19 outbreak, the Solomon Islands national government requested international assistance. An Australian Medical Assistance Team, including an occupational therapist, arrived in the Solomon Islands last week.
Vaccination rates are low at 11%. The hospital is in emergency mode, with about 60% of hospital inpatients testing positive to COVID-19. Regrettably, the rehabilitation centre and diabetic foot clinic at the National Referral Hospital were declared hotspots and have temporarily closed their doors.
Without the diabetic foot clinic and early intervention, people with more severe wound outcomes and gangrene are presenting to the surgical ward. We are anxious for the wellbeing of service users who need access to rehabilitation, ongoing care and assistive technologies at this time.
Leaders of the Solomon Islands health services are working tirelessly to design risk management plans and solutions to safely provide services. We are maintaining close communication with them, as well as Australia’s Medical Assistance Team, to identify how we can best match our response.
Parts of Tonga have been hit hard by the volcanic eruption and consequent tsunami. Unfortunately, the nation also recently saw their first locally transmitted COVID-19 cases.
Tonga has extended its ‘redlight’ lockdown for another two weeks from Sunday 6th February. The lockdown means that shops selling essential supplies will open one day per week to enable people to restock. Rehabilitation services are limited to hospital inpaitents at this time.
We are in ongoing discussions with the Ministry of Health about how we can best support health service systems and ensure those seeking physical rehabilitation services can access them again as soon as possible.
Fiji is experiencing a third wave of COVID-19 infections, fueled by the Omicron variant. The Fiji government reports as follows:
“The implications of COVID-19 to health service provision are clear. The required change in the health service delivery model implies a change to infrastructure, human resource structure, working conditions, equipment, and the supply chain of drugs and consumables.”
Ministry of Health and Medical Services Fiji, accessed 7th February 22
We are collaborating closely with our partners, friends and colleagues in Fiji to strengthen local capacity to take on the challenges identified by the Fijian government.
With your assistance, we can support our partners through this tough time, invest in their strength and resilience and expand local services in COVID safe ways.