Fiji's growing number of Covid-19 cases has prompted an aid response from St John New Zealand to help combat the pandemic.
"We're in the business of helping people in need, and our brothers and sisters in Fiji need our support right now, so it is our duty to help them however we can," says Dan Ohs, St John deputy chief executive, ambulance operations.
The package comprises four Toyota four-wheel-drives with stretchers to quickly locate, treat and transport patients across Fiji's mountainous terrain, PPE including 2000 gowns and masks, defibrillators, warm clothing and financial assistance to cover the cost of oxygen cylinders.
The move is in response to a request for aid from St John Fiji to its international ambulance counterparts.
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"The request from St John Fiji specifically mentioned vehicles and equipment to assist in the Covid-19 efforts in Fiji," said James Stewart, national operations manager for St John's New Zealand yesterday. "So St John NZ is responding to that and we are sending four Land Cruisers as well as seven defibrillators and assorted PPE and uniforms to try and assist there."
The equipment being sent is from St John NZ's operational stock and will not compromise their ability to respond to emergencies within New Zealand said Stewart. The vehicles are between five and seven years old and the other equipment was either new or fairly new and was being used by St John NZ until last week.
"Fiji is in a Covid-19 health crisis. As we've seen there are now over 9000 cases of confirmed Covid-19 and we believe their health system is in need of some assistance and St John NZ is proud to offer this assistance but also aligning with other St John organisations throughout the world who are also sending aid," Stewart said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had assisted with logistics in getting the aid to Fiji for which St John were grateful Stewart said.
The equipment will leave in two shipments with the first setting sail to Fiji from Auckland on Friday and is expected to arrive Wednesday, July 21.