On May 20, the U.S. Government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) responded to the Government of Fiji’s request for critical assistance needed to confront the evolving COVID-19 situation in Fiji. In partnership with UNICEF, USAID quickly redirected funding to procure vital infection prevention and control items for Fiji’s Ministry of Health. These materials will help the Government of Fiji in its efforts to stave off the evolving COVID-19 outbreak and will support the country as it mounts a large-scale contact tracing and response campaign.
In mid-April 2021, after a year with no cases of local COVID-19 transmission, Fiji experienced an outbreak of a COVID-19 variant of concern. As the country quickly worked to identify cases and track potential contacts, the donor community coalesced to support the Ministry of Health in its efforts to mount a nationwide contact tracing effort. Fiji, which has been able to thus far avoid a serious COVID-19 outbreak due to strict border quarantine measures, found itself in need of critical supplies for the country’s commodity reserves. Through the assistance of USAID and other donor partners, the Ministry of Health has been able to meet critical supply gaps, and the U.S. government continues to identify ways to support Fiji in its efforts to both respond to and overcome the current COVID-19 emergency.
Funding was provided as part of a regional $1.85 million USAID activity with UNICEF Pacific, entitled ‘Preventing and Responding to COVID-2019 in the Pacific.’ The project, which is implemented in Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, focuses on supporting community-level risk communication, health worker training, and infection prevention and control efforts, including water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) activities and supplies. Today’s emergency provision of disinfectants, sanitizers, soaps and other infection prevention supplies will assist the Government of Fiji in quelling the localized outbreak before it spreads further.
To date, the U.S. government, through USAID, has invested $28.2 million to help Pacific Islands countries to respond to and manage the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.