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Nuku’alofa – May 26, 2021: 12.10pm (Nuku’alofa Times): The New Zealand government is funding the construction of a new pharmacy wharehouse here in Nuku’alofa.

New Zealand High Commissioner Tiffany Babington yesterday handed over a signed Grant Contribution letter of NZ$1,600,000 to Tonga’s Ministry of Health (MoH) Acting CEO, Dr Reynold ‘Ofanoa and Medical Superintendent, Dr ‘Ana ‘Akau’ola, for the construction of a new Central Pharmacy Warehouse under Tonga’s National Deployment and Vaccine Plan (NDVP).

New Zealand, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), is providing this contribution in response to Tonga MoH’s request to fund its NDVP, which includes the construction of a Central Pharmacy Warehouse as part of its COVID-19 preparedness and response activities.

The Central Pharmacy Warehouse will provide a central location for receiving and distributing medicine and medical supplies across Tonga’s health facilities in all island groups. The warehouse will also store vaccines in refrigeration. The warehouse will be fit for purpose and keep stock safe from natural hazards and climate change risks.

This funding support is in addition to support that has already been provided by New Zealand, including:

  • NZ$4 million in budget support for the Government’s COVID-19 stimulus package.
  • NZ$100,000 from our Emergency High Commission or Embassy Fund to the Ministry of Health for a medical waste collection truck.
  • NZ$1 million to MoH’s pandemic preparedness and response plan.
  • NZ$550,000 worth of PPE
  • NZ$1 million to support implementation of the WHO Pacific Regional Preparedness and Response Plan
  • NZ$1 million to support WHO purchase GeneXpert machines and cartridges which have given Pacific Island countries, including Tonga, COVID-19 testing capability
  • New Zealand COVID-19 vaccine support for Polynesia and the Pacific including through COVAX

This funding contribution for the construction of a new warehouse is made available under the New Zealand Aid Programme’s COVID-19 Preparedness & Vaccines Fund.

Keeping safe has been the driving principle behind Aotearoa New Zealand’s COVID-19 response at home, and in our region.

Closing borders and protecting our people has come at a cost to the region. We are contributing funding support to Pacific countries on a country-by-country basis. Governments are able to determine where this is needed most according to their individual circumstances, to help alleviate the health, economic and social challenges resulting from the pandemic, and drive recovery and resilience.

Throughout the pandemic, Aotearoa New Zealand is continuing to adapt its economic and health system support to meet country and regional needs.

New Zealand is committed to working with Tonga to respond to the immediate economic and social impacts of COVID-19, to assist Tonga be well prepared should COVID-19 enter the Kingdom, and to build resilience for the future.

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