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Everyone in this country is urged to take some responsibility by adhering to the health measures to support the front line workers who are risking their lives to save lives.
UNICEF country Representative David Mcloughlin gave this message when handing over Personal Protective Equipment to the National Response to Covid-19.
“The front line workers are our champions – our heroes. They have a message for all of us and that is to take some responsibility because the pressure is enormous,’’ said Mcloughlin.
He said while serving at the front line they are also suffering and it is the duty of everyone to take some responsibility to minimise the infection rate and thereby protect them as well.
Mr Mcloughlin handed over PPE worth K3 million to the national response on Saturday which was received by Acting Health Secretary Dr Paison Dakulala.
These 631,000 PPE comprised of gloves, surgical masks, protective goggles, face shields, gowns, coveralls, shoe covers, caps and thermometers- were procured by UNICEF through funding support provided by the World Bank, Governments of Australia and Japan, and Newcrest Mining Limited to support the PNG Government’s response to COVID-19.
Dr Dakulala thanked the donors and said this biological warfare will be won with these kinds of partnerships.
“I believe we will win the war because we have our key people mobilized to get the job done. We will win the war because we have great partners,’’ he said, adding that the PPE will go to all frontline workers, including the security personnel.
At the handover were Satoshi Isono, Counsellor from the Japanese Embassy; Caitlyn Wilson, Deputy Australian High Commissioner, and Stanley Komunt, PNG Country Manager for Newcrest Mining Ltd.
Mr Komunt said apart from giving financial support to UNICEF, the mine is also providing support to New Ireland and East New Britain provinces and recently to Central and NCD.
Mr Sono said the COVID-19 pandemic is a social and economic threat to all countries and values the efforts of the PNG government and its partners such as UNICEF which is protecting both citizens and foreigners like himself.
“Japan has provided about US$1 million, roughly equivalent to K3.5 million in March to UNICEF PNG which has been used for PPE, medical tents, awareness goods such as poster or information at TV or newspaper. UNICEF has been making hand washing taps at 76 schools,’’ said Mr Sono.
He also said laughter and smile are good for the immune system so despite the stress, everyone should make an attempt to be happy.
Deputy Australian High Commissioner Caitlin Wilson acknowledged the long-standing friendship and partnership between PNG and Australia, saying it was very much two ways and at this difficult time they needed to work more closely and treat each other as true partners.
She also commended the overall response in the country so far.
“We’ve certainly observed a very strong focus on disease surveillance, sensible control measures, and really impressive joint agency responses that again the work that you are doing alongside Commissioner Manning is a real testament to that agency work that we know is really critical,’ Ms Wilson said.
On the PPE alone to date, Australia has provided more than 1.4 pieces to PNG as part of its broader support and it is also working through its established and long term health partners to address the issue of specific specialist skills in the months to come.
She said Australia is mindful also of the economic stability and recovery in its partnership and would continue to work with PNG.
“We know at the moment that COVID-19 is here with us for some time. Whatever the future holds, Dr Dakulala, I can assure you that Australia will continue to stand together with PNG, to PNG’s excellent leadership,’’ Ms Wilson said.
Apart from buying and helping distribute PPEs, UNICEF is supporting the national response through a myriad of ways and will be going right down to the grassroots.
Its support to health covers Water and Hygiene, education, nutrition and protection of children, early essential care for mothers and newborns.