APIA, SAMOA – 30 JULY 2020: The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) have partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to bolster Samoa’s COVID-19 response.
Two thousand COVID-19 test cartridges were handed over to MOH today, along with IT equipment funded by UNDP that were temporarily held by MCIT.
The cartridges, or panels, will be used for the Ministry’s existing GeneXpert machines for COVID-19 testing. They are produced by US-based molecular diagnostics company, Cepheid, and in high demand at the moment, so Samoa is fortunate to be able to secure this shipment.
“On behalf of the Government of Samoa, we would like to thank UNDP for your commitment in assisting Samoa’s national efforts in our response to the threat of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases,” said the Associate Minister of Health, Tofa Li’o Foleni in accepting the assistance.
“We appreciate the value in which the COVID-19 cartridges have been gifted and given the shortage of supplies worldwide, we are most grateful.”
This shipment is part of UNDP’s support to the Government of Samoa’s COVID-19 response with funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which had been approved in 2019 to help address the measles epidemic. Part of the funds were reprogrammed for COVID-19 assistance and used by UNDP to support procurement of the 2,000 Cepheid cartridges and 53 Zoom Software Licenses to support the Government of Samoa’s Business Continuity Plan during the State of Emergency, and contribute to conducting the United Nations Socio-Economic Impact Assessment of COVID-19 on Samoa.
Under the same Fund, UNDP procured 15 laptops, 15 webcams and a multipurpose scanner which were handed over to MCIT in December 2019 to help digitize medical records and to enable tele-medicine in district hospitals, following the measles outbreak. This equipment will now be transferred to MOH following today’s handover.
“UNDP remains strongly committed to continue boosting Samoa’s COVID-19 response. We are pleased that we are able to help in further expanding the Government’s testing capacities,” said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Verena Linneweber.
“Being able to test is critical in enabling more Samoans to return from abroad safely while preventing transmission in their home country.”
Earlier in June, UNDP also handed over PCR testing equipment capable of carrying out more than 2,000 COVID-19 tests to the Scientific Research Organization of Samoa (SROS) to boost Samoa’s response to the pandemic.