The Australian Government has worked closely with our Pacific partners since the early stages of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to support a coordinated outbreak response.
We have worked with partner governments, national and international agencies to deliver essential medical supplies and personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, hand sanitiser, thermometers, protective suits, goggles and gowns to Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Pacific.
Australia and New Zealand have each provided $1 million to boost the World Health Organization's Pacific regional outbreak response plan. Already more than 25 technical advisers have been deployed to the field and equipment delivered to prepare for the first wave of infections.
We are supporting infrastructure requests to help Pacific partners have vital quarantine, isolation and laboratory facilities. New buildings, upgrades and adaption of existing facilities are being funded in Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.
The Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security (CHS) was able to provide early assistance through Health Security Volunteers already deployed in the field by asking them to adapt their work to COVID-19 prevention activities. The ongoing ASEAN-Australian Health Security Fellows will provide crucial professional support to early-career epidemiologists.
In Timor-Leste, programs implemented by two of the CHS’ established partners will be extended. Our partner, the Menzies School of Health Research will provide technical advisers to improve infection prevention and control in the emergency department through the Strong TL communicable disease surveillance and control project. Maluk Timor Australia will draw on its significant experience in training and health service delivery to roll out activities targeting COVID-19.