Japan Formalises VT320 million Grant Aid for Medical Equipment to Vanuatu

Richard Butler | Exclusive By Daily Post | June 24th, 2020

The Government of Japan will provide assistance worth 300 million Japanese Yen (approximately VT320 million) to the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu through its Economic Social Development Programme (ESDP).

The funding assistance will enable the procurement of equipment to support the efficient delivery of health and medical services in Vanuatu.

Although Vanuatu has yet to have a positive case of COVID-19, the ongoing global pandemic has brought about the need to strengthen health systems in order to increase the country’s preparedness.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade, Marc Ati and Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of Vanuatu, Ms. Katsumata Harumi, signed and exchanged notes concerning Japan’s assistance to the Republic of Vanuatu at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and External Trade Conference Room, at 14:00, on Monday, 22 June 2020.

“Through the ESDP, Japan will be providing a grant of 300 million Japanese Yen, which is approximately VT320 million, for the procurement of medical equipment to strengthen the capacity of Vanuatu’s health sector,” Ambassador Harumi said.

The Ambassador noted Vanuatu is one of only 12 countries in the world that never had a confirmed case of the COVID-19. This, she said, is a testament to the Government’s quick action and response when the pandemic started to spread towards this region.

She mentioned that in order to contribute to the emergency response to COVID-19 in the Pacific region, Japan gave UNICEF three million US dollars for the provision of and technical assistance to 14 countries in this region, including Vanuatu in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. Three hundred and eighty thousand US dollars out of the facility was allocated to Vanuatu.

Medical Equipment

This assistance is in line with the Government of Vanuatu’s Sustainable Development Plan (the People’s Plan 2030) in promoting a “Quality Health Care” for all citizens in Vanuatu.

It is also consistent with Eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM8), Leaders’ declaration where the Leaders agreed that to achieve resilient and sustainable development in major sectors of the economy including health, a special consideration needs to be channeled towards enhancing cooperation to elevate the quality of medical services and the welfare of the people in the Pacific and to accelerate progress towards a universal health coverage through access to better diagnostic, better screening, essential medicines and medical equipment and human resources development.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has increased the urgency of this goal, and Japan is committed to cooperate actively with the international community to respond to this global crisis from not only a short-term viewpoint but also a medium to long-term development perspective.

Last year, ESDP funded the procurement of a mobile clinic, medical equipment for health centers and hospitals including Vila Central Hospital, and other equipment for the improvement of water storage facilities and the general sanitation and hygiene of local communities.

Before that, Japan also funded the redevelopment of Vila Central Hospital, which included the construction of the new hospital extension that houses the Outpatients, Emergency, Laboratory and Radiology departments, as well as a pharmacy. This VT1.4 billion project was handed over in 2014. This reaffirms Japan’s commitment to supporting the medical sector with a medium to long-term development perspective.

In today’s globalizing world, the entire international community should work together as a whole in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Japan intends to cooperate with the international community as it takes a leading and active role in this work, which includes this assistance.

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