Left to right: Health Minister, Hon. Puka Temu, Chinese Ambassador, H.E. Ambassador Xue Bing, Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape and UN Resident Coordinator, Mr Gianluca Rampolla

PORT MORESBY, 12 October 2020 – Twenty lifesaving ventilators were handed over to the Government of Papua New Guinea to further strengthen the country’s health system at national and provincial levels. A total of 30 ventilators have now been delivered to the government with support of the United Nations.

In handing over the ventilators, UN Resident Coordinator Gianluca Rampolla reaffirmed the organisation’s commitment to the government’s COVID response. “This is the latest of many handovers we have made since March and it is far from the last,” said Mr Rampolla. “The UN continue to support the fight against COVID and help Papua New Guinea’s healthcare system become more resilient to future health crises.”

Delivering these ventilators at a total cost of more than US $ 600,000 (2.1 million Kina) was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the People’s Republic of China through its Embassy in Port Moresby. China has donated US$ 450,000 to the procurement of ventilators with the balance contributed by UNDP.

The ventilators will bolster the country’s investment in strengthening frontline health systems and its capacity to treat possible acute cases of COVID-19. This essential equipment will also enhance the support of intensive care treatment for other acute respiratory or life-threatening illnesses.

UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Dirk Wagener said the need for ventilators as essential equipment in the country’s hospitals can help patients survive many critical illnesses, not just COVID-19.

“These ventilators are a life-saving tool. They will help many people now and into the future across the country. UNDP and the People’s Republic of China have been proud to lead this health procurement process in support of the Government of Papua New Guinea.”

The generosity of the Government of People’s Republic of China and H.E. Ambassador Xue Bing have financed 15 of the ventilators, and UNDP sponsored the remaining five ventilators. The People’s Republic of China has further supported the Papua New Guinea health response with clinical preparedness support to Port Moresby General Hospital.

Mr. Wagener said the National Department of Health’s swift and sustained efforts to address the country’s preparedness and response to COVID-19 from January, well before many countries in the world, had strengthened the health infrastructure in PNG.

UNDP’s continued full support for the Government of Papua New Guinea’s preparedness and response efforts, addresses both health and non-health impacts.

Mr. Rampolla and H.E. Ambassador Xue Bing were today joined by the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, the Hon. James Marape – with Minister for Health Sir Puka Temu, and National Pandemic Controller, who thanked the People’s Republic of China and UNDP for their generous support.

Mr Marape said he is happy to see both the Chinese Government and UNDP step in to assist with the ventilators, adding that the PNG Government appreciates the gift.

“This small but symbolic occasion further strengthens the relationship with UN and the Chinese Government. Every help matters in this time. In instances where there’s acute respiratory symptoms, the ventilators will help during and beyond Covid-19,” the Prime Minister said.

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