Another batch of oxygen concentrators were donated by the Australian government to the Philippines to further help the country deal with the global shortage of critical medical equipment amid the pandemic.
A total of 100 oxygen concentrators and associated consumables were handed over to the Department of Health (DOH) and National Task Force Against COVID-19 on Thursday, Oct. 21. This brings to 200 the donated oxygen concentrators to the country from Australia.
The latest donations are intended for hospitals and health centers and are being distributed according to need.
The first 100 donations, which were delivered in August, have been distributed in 27 hospital and health centers in the National Capital Region (NCR), Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
According to Australian Ambassador Steven J. Robinson, the latest donations valued at AUD 11.5 million is part of the AUD 47.49 million or P1.79-billion projected donation made by the Australian government to the Philippines for over two years (2021-2023).
"I am very pleased that the Australian Government is able t make an important contribution to the Philippines COVID-19 response and vaccine access and delivery needs," Robinson said in a statement.
"This new commitment of approximately P433 million will increase the number of Australian-funded vaccine doses that will be procured by UNICEF for the Philippines, and will significantly expand our vaccine delivery support, which is helping ensure that doses reach priority groups and vulnerable Filipinos across the country," the ambassador added.
The ambassador further expressed elation that some of the vaccine delivery support is already making an impact in the Philippines.
"Using Australia's funding, UNICEF is delivering and installing eight walk-in cold rooms and related equipment to improve the safe storage and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines in vulnerable regions; while the World Health Organization is providing 4,500 mobile tablets and wireless keyboards to local government units in remote regions, to enhance their capacity to distribute COVID-19 vaccines," Robinson said.
To date, Australia's COVID-19 vaccine delivery support to the country has also trained 640 healthcare workers and more than 300 local community leaders to communicate the importance of vaccines to Filipinos.