Australian Ambassador Steven J. Robinson AO announced that the Australian Government has increased its commitment to COVID-19 vaccine access and delivery in the Philippines by AUD 11.5 million, to a total of AUD 47.49 million – approximately PHP 1.79 billion – over two years (2021-2023).
The Ambassador made the announcement as he handed over to Department of Health Secretary Franciso T. Duque III and National Taskforce Against COVID-19 Chief Implementer of the Secretary Carlito G. Galvez Jr. the second donation of 100 oxygen concentrators from the Australian government.
Australia has donated a total of 200 oxygen concentrators and associated consumables to the Philippines. The first donation of 100 oxygen contentrators and associated consumables were handed over on 28 August and were allocated across 27 hospitals and health centres in the National Capital Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley Region, Zamboanga Peninsula, and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. The Department of Health will allocate Australia’s second donation of 100 oxygen concentrators and associated consumables to hospitals and health centres according to need. There is currently a global shortage of this critical medical equipment as many countries continue to deal with high number of COVID-19 cases.
“I am very pleased that the Australian Government is able to make an important contribution to the Philippines COVID-19 response and vaccine access and delivery needs,” the Ambassador said. “This new commitment of approximately PHP 433 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.”
Ambassador Robinson said, “I am delighted that some of our vaccine delivery support is already making an impact in the Philippines. For example, 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.”
To date, Australia’s comprehensive COVID-19 vaccine delivery support to the Philippines has also trained 640 healthcare workers and more than 300 local community leaders to communicate the importance of COVID-19 vaccines to Filipinos.
“We will continue to work with the Philippine Government and delivery partners to help meet the needs of the Philippines. Our ongoing cooperation underscores the strong partnership that Australia and the Philippines have shared over the last 75 years.”