U.S. Government Supports Health Care on Air for Pacific Islands COVID-19 Response

Suva, Fiji – Today, U.S. Ambassador Joseph Cella joined Government of Fiji officials and donor partners to launch “Health Care on Air,” a radio program that will boost the capacity of health workers to protect themselves and deliver quality health services to communities during COVID-19.

Ambassador Cella stated, “This great radio program highlights the strong commitment to the region by the government of the United States of America in both preventing the spread of this deadly and costly virus, containing it where it is, assisting in its mitigation, and more importantly, helping build a more stable and secure future for the Pacific islands.”

This program is part of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) $1.85 million ‘Preventing and Responding to COVID-2019’ project with UNICEF Pacific. The project, which is implemented in Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu focuses on reducing human-to-human transmission and mitigating secondary impacts of COVID-19, such as the additional burden and expenses on fragile health care systems and preparing them to adapt quickly to new areas of knowledge and specialization.

USAID funding supports risk-communications, hygiene promotion and hand washing, the prevention and control of infectious diseases in health facilities, and logistics support to move essential medical supplies and personnel throughout the Pacific. The “Health Care on Air” Program is a critical component of risk communication and community engagement targeted towards health workers living in remote areas, who may not have access to TV or online training.

To date, the U.S. government, through USAID, has invested $24.2 million to help Pacific island countries, namely the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, to manage the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.