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Solomon Islands give emergency medical supplies to Vanuatu

Solomon Islands provide emergency medical supplies to Vanuatu

PORT VILA, 25 March 2015A shipment of much-needed medical supplies arrived in Vanuatu yesterday. The supplies were donated by the Government of Solomon Islands. The supplies were transported from Honiara by the Australian military and include enough medication to provide basic primary health care to 100 000 people for three months. Packed in easy-to-transport kits, these supplies will be quickly distributed by plane or boat to the health facilities most in need.

"There is an urgent need for medical supplies right across the islands of Vanuatu so we are very pleased to receive this shipment," said Dr Jacob Kool, WHO's Country Liaison Officer in Vanuatu. "This donation is the result of close collaboration between the ministries of health in both Pacific island countries, the Australian military and WHO."

Many health facilities are running very low on essential medicines and some have run out of them entirely. These kits will fill an urgent need for many of the 166 000 people affected by the disaster. "I thank our Pacific island neighbour for this important donation," said Mr George Andre-Wells, Vanuatu's Minister of Health. "These supplies will help us replenish our stocks of essential medicines that were damaged or destroyed by the cyclone."

While medical personnel, emergency responders and supplies continue to arrive to assist Vanuatu Ministry of Health's post-disaster response, urgent needs remain. The Ministry of Health is leading the needs assessments in more than 150 health facilities across Vanuatu to prioritize the delivery of medical supplies. WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health with this task.

In the weeks and months following a natural disaster, more people are expected to seek medical care, as roads and transportation systems are restored. In addition, outbreaks of diarrhoeal disease and other illnesses are expected.

"These medicines give a much-needed boost to the capacity of the doctors and nurses in Vanuatu," said Dr Kool. "They will help treat people in urgent need right now and also be available for people needing care in the future, as the health impacts of Cyclone Pam continues to be felt."

WHO continues to support the Ministry of Health in coordinating the public health response to the disaster through the WHO Country Liaison Office in Vanuatu, Division of Pacific Technical Support in Suva, Regional Office for the Western Pacific in Manila and WHO headquarters in Geneva.


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