WHO, DHL join hands to deliver medical equipment to the Pacific
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently teamed up with DHL Global Forwarding to coordinate WHO’s latest delivery: more than $2 million worth of medical devices such as oxygen concentrator sets, patient monitors and pulse oximeters.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently teamed up with DHL Global Forwarding to coordinate WHO’s latest delivery: more than $2 million worth of medical devices such as oxygen concentrator sets, patient monitors and pulse oximeters. The equipment was flown with the help of DHL from Singapore to WHO’s Division of Pacific Technical Support in Fiji.
The devices are destined for hospitals and other health-care facilities in eight countries and areas in the Pacific, where they will help local medical professionals to treat Covid-19 patients. To date, Pacific island countries and areas have largely managed to avoid large-scale outbreaks, although some recently experienced a spike in infections. Twelve Pacific countries and areas have no recorded cases of Covid-19 but remain on high alert.
Significant reductions in passenger flights have also cut air freight capacity. The shipment of medical supplies had to be broken down into three batches for shipment from Singapore to Fiji between 22 October and 19 November. From Fiji, special flights or shipping lines are being organized for deliveries to the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu.
“Ensuring that Pacific island countries and areas have access to necessary medical equipment to prepare for and respond to COVID-19 is a priority for the World Health Organization,” said Dr Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific.
“But reaching such remote places, especially when so many airports are closed, is a huge logistical challenge,” he explained. “WHO is happy to be working with partners like DHL to be able to make this happen.”
Kelvin Leung, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific, elaborated on the challenges: “Whilst the Pacific islands’ geographic distance from densely populated countries has helped them avert major outbreaks during the pandemic, it has equally worked against them in acquiring much-needed supplies due to the scarcity of air freight capacity.
“As one of the few global logistics players in the islands and one with a geographic footprint as wide as ours, we are glad to be able to play a part in delivering the medical equipment and living up to our purpose of Connecting People, Improving Lives,” he added.
WHO in the Western Pacific Region has worked with a wide range of partners throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to address unique challenges through innovative problem-solving and solidarity. The organisation has successfully leveraged its convening and coordinating powers to work across sectors and ensure that even the most hard-to-reach places are equipped to address Covid-19.