New Zealand is set to send a medical and logistics support team and essential supplies to help Papua New Guinea with its Covid-19 crisis.
The island nation formally requested humanitarian and medical support from partner governments amid rising case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths from the Delta surge, Associate Foreign Minister Aupito William Sio said in a statement.
“New Zealand remains committed to supporting our Pacific neighbours to respond to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. By working closely with our partners in the region, we can make a tangible contribution to Covid-19 resilience,” Sio said.
The logistics support team – consisting of two New Zealand Defence Force logisticians and a New Zealand Defence Force Environmental Health Officer – will support the Papua New Guinea National Control Centre in Port Moresby.
In addition, two doctors and three nurses from private company Respond Global, two Fire and Emergency New Zealand logisticians and a representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will be based in Bougainville to support the Bougainville Department of Health.
New Zealand has provided over $14 million in Covid-related support to Papua New Guinea since the first outbreak in 2020.
The support includes providing PPE for health personnel; medical equipment for a new Covid-19 field support hospital; supporting the transportation of Covid-19 supplies to remote areas; and the funding of United Nations and non-government organisations’ response efforts.
Most of the team will be based in the country for one month, Sio said.