The World Health Organization has handed over personal protective equipment worth about $700,000 to Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete to support the healthcare workers in Fiji.

The personal protective equipment includes 29,200 face shields, 900,000 surgical masks, 53,400 KN95 masks, surgical gowns and goggles.

Doctor Waqainabete says he appreciates the assistance provided by WHO and reiterated the importance of having adequate, safe and competent personal protective equipment.

He says he is grateful to receive the medical supplies by World Health Organization as they are currently stock-piling supplies.

 

Doctor Waqainabete adds that amid the COVID-19 and the intervening months, there were global shortages of medical supplies because of the challenges faced worldwide, especially in countries that were in lockdown and without the availability of any raw materials and the manufacture of personal protective equipment, consumables and medicines.

He says due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases, Fiji is doing a lot of tests, they need medical equipment for early detection and rapid response to COVID-19.

Director of Pacific Technical Support and WHO representative Doctor Corinne Capuano says the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the importance of having a strong health system not only for the health sector but for the social and economic wellbeing of the world as well.

She says healthcare workers are the key elements of the health system which needs to be protected.

According to the data collected by WHO, about 8 to 27 percent of infections occur in healthcare workers around the world and one of the reasons behind it is lack of personal protective equipment.