The ambulances will boost the capacity of first response teams to carry out emergency retrievals & transfers, as well as home assessments for high risk patients.

The New Zealand government has funded the conversion of four vehicles into fully equipped ambulances for use by the Ministry of Health and
Medical Services Pre Hospital Emergency Care Coordination Centre (PHECCC) team to support their COVID-19 operations.

Today, the last of those vehicles was commissioned at a ceremony at Central Eastern Health Command Center, PJ Twomey Hospital, Tamavua in Suva.

The ambulances will boost the capacity of first response teams to carry out emergency retrievals & transfers, as well as home assessments for high risk patients.

The Minister for Health and Medical Services, Ifereimi Waqainabete, who received the ambulance on behalf of the Ministry, expressed his appreciation for the partnership with Aotearoa New Zealand, and outlined plans to further develop Fiji’s first response capabilities and strengthen coordination of services.

While the ambulances were being fitted out, the New Zealand High Commission also provided rental vehicles and communications equipment for immediate use by the first response team to help meet increased demand for their services.

Since starting operations in late June 2021, the PHECCC team have undertaken more than 2,220 patient retrievals with the assistance of New Zealand funded vehicles.

“Supporting Fijian first response teams in a highly practical way has helped to ensure patients get faster access to critical medical care,” said New Zealand High Commissioner Jonathan Curr.

Mr Curr acknowledged the efforts and dedication of first response teams over months of high demand and difficult conditions. He expressed his hope that the additional vehicles will make a significant difference to Fiji’s COVID-19 response operations.

“The rental vehicles, medical and radio communications equipment facilitated by NZHC has really enabled the PHECCC team to respond effectively and efficiently to patients in need”, said Mr Lemeki Lenoa, First Response Fleet Coordinator.

He added that “the commissioning into service of the new ambulances strengthen this response as our area of operations has expanded.”