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

With funds provided by the government of Australia, WHO with support from the UNDP global procurement system, successfully procured the new ventilators as part of ongoing support towards the country’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 High Commissioner to Solomon Islands Ms Sally-Anne Vincent said Australia was pleased to provide SBD $ 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,” Ms Vincent said.

“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”.

WHO Solomon Islands Country Representative Dr. Sevil Huseynova acknowledged UNDP for the support in procuring the ventilators and also the funding support from Australia. “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 5 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”, stated 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 Mrs. 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”, highlighted 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 further explained.

PS 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.

Source: Joint Media Release