Australia will assist to procure critical supplies, including oxygen and ventilators. Australia will also support frontline health workers and help improve contact tracing, according to a Australian government statement.
In Bangladesh, Australia will provide an additional $5 million to partners, including the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society for the purchase of essential supplies, including oxygen and related equipment. This is in addition to $5.7 million provided through BRAC, World Food Programme (WFP), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), including for equipment and training for health systems strengthening, the statement informed.
In Nepal, Australia will provide $7 million for the purchase of essential equipment, through the UN and existing NGO partners. Australia is already providing medical equipment to hospitals in the most severely affected areas bordering India, as well as PPE, COVID-19 testing kits and related training for health workers, according to the statement.
In Sri Lanka, Australia will provide an additional $5.5 million to the UN SDG Fund for critical supplies and health systems support to the Ministry of Health. Australia has already provided over $6.2 million in COVID-19 related support to Sri Lanka in 2020-21. Earlier this week, Australia delivered oxygen and related supplies through UNICEF, including 291 oxygen cylinders and 342 oxygen regulators.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Marise Payne recently said Australia is committed to supporting countries in the North East Indian Ocean region as they face a surge in cases. “Australia’s contribution will go directly to those on the ground delivering much-needed assistance to those who need it most. Communities in Australia are concerned for friends and family in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In partnership with our friends, we will continue to support the region to respond to and recover from COVID-19.”
Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Zed Seselja said Australia is working closely with trusted NGO partners in the region to procure critical medical and humanitarian supplies.
“Through our partners Australia is procuring oxygen, ventilators, PPE and other much needed medical supplies identified by our friends in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, as well as bolstering the contact tracing efforts of local health authorities,” Minister Seselja said.
Australia’s support for the North East Indian Ocean region is in addition to Australia’s $37.1 million support package for India’s COVID-19 response.