Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Lyn Morgain said:
“Oxfam welcomes the Australian Government’s renewed focus on and support for our neighbours in Papua New Guinea, who are now facing a rapidly escalating crisis.
“While the PPE and vaccines provided will help Papua New Guinea to respond to this outbreak, the needs on the ground vastly outweigh this support.
“PNG’s health system is not equipped to respond to a major outbreak such as this, and many lives are at stake.
“The country urgently needs more vaccines and, critically, the resources required to roll out a vaccine program into remote parts of the country, to get this outbreak under control and to keep the people of Papua New Guinea safe.
“The task ahead is considerable, and Oxfam knows how important it is that we utilise all of the infrastructure on the ground and support local communities to respond.
“We need vaccines, but we also need communities to know and understand the importance of them, and to be able to access them.
“In making these commitments, the Government has recognised that our health and safety and that of our neighbours is interconnected, and that we’re not safe until everybody is safe. What’s more, doing what we can to support developing nations with fewer resources is also the right thing to do.
“That’s why it’s important that Australia does all it can – including supporting proposals to waive patents on vaccines – to allow the quickest vaccine rollout possible in all developing countries.”