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Red Cross steps up COVID response in PNG

Australian Red Cross scales up support to Papua New Guinea with the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) following a request from PNG Red Cross for more help as PNG's COVID-19 outbreak enters its third month.

The PPE is being sourced to be used by PNG Red Cross, allowing staff and volunteers to continue to provide accurate and reliable public health information about the virus and how to prevent its spread.  

These activities require staff and volunteers to be physically present in communities. The additional PPE will ensure they can do this while protecting their own health and those of others.  

As part of this outreach, PNG Red Cross will work with local authorities to contribute PPE supplies they need at testing sites and health facilities.  

The increase in support has been made possible through donations from the Australian Government and a partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation, who has donated $100,000 USD toward the effort. Coca-Cola and PNG Red Cross are also exploring how to utilise Coca-Cola's logistics network to transport the PPE to key locations in PNG, allowing it to efficiently reach communities.  

“It is great to see support coming from the corporate sector to meet urgent humanitarian needs,” said Australian Red Cross Director of International, Michael Annear. 

“This contribution, and the support from the Australian Government and other countries, will greatly assist local efforts to reduce suffering in PNG,” he said.  

“This outbreak has shown that there is a critical need to strengthen the country’s healthcare capacity to deal with future disease outbreaks. Long term investment is needed,” he said.  

“Fair access to COVID-19 vaccines is vital. Australian Red Cross welcomes all moves to boost global production of vaccines. We call for equitable access to supplies for vulnerable populations, including in PNG.” 

Australian Red Cross is seeking donations to support COVID-19 relief across the Asia Pacific region. To donate, visit www.redcross.org.au  

For media queries or interview requests, contact media@redcross.org.au or 1800 733 443