Vital PPE arrives in Papua New Guinea as Delta crisis worsens

Australian Red Cross

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners uses distribution network to get equipment to hard-to-reach areas.

A large shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) is being delivered to communities across Papua New Guinea (PNG) to better protect people and health workers against COVID-19, as the latest outbreak spreads rapidly through communities.

The critical delivery includes:

· 636,000 surgical masks

· 65,000 examination gloves

· 360 infrared thermometers

· 24,000 bottles of hand-sanitizer

PNG Red Cross staff and volunteers are working alongside local government authorities to provide accurate and reliable information about COVID-19 to stem the spread of the Delta variant which is placing an enormous strain on the health system.

The supply of PPE has been funded by a $AU125,000 grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation, the international philanthropic arm of The Coca-Cola Company, and will be distributed around the country using the extensive logistics network of Coca-Cola Europacific Partners PNG.

“We are working hard to provide accurate information about the virus at a local level. We want to ensure people fully understand how it spreads and how they can protect themselves. We need to protect our staff and volunteers as they undertake this critical community outreach” Uvenama Rova, PNG Red Cross Secretary General said.

“Misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccinations is rife across the country. Access to PPE is a vital component to ensuring Red Cross workers can get health and safety messages to communities and help the country stave off this latest outbreak of the Delta variant,” Penny Harrison, Interim Director of International Programs with Australian Red Cross.

It is estimated the vaccination rate is less than 2% of the total population. To date, PNG has officially reported more than 34,906 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 542 deaths. However, given the limited access to COVID-19 tests across PNG, the number of confirmed cases is thought to be significantly higher.

The General Manager Coca-Cola Europacific Partners PNG, Philippe Mondada, says delivery of PPE has been extraordinarily challenging given the highly dispersed population in PNG.

“We’re very concerned about the current surge in COVID-19 cases in PNG and want to support to the best of our ability. By using our established and best-in-class distribution network, we can provide the platform to ensure this PPE gets to where it is needed most and can really make an impact to vulnerable communities across the country,” Mr Mondada said.

The delivery has been supported by Australia Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross Red and Red Crescent Societies and supplementary funding from the Australian Government.

“There is an urgent need for people to get vaccinated in PNG in addition to protecting themselves through good health practices like wearing a face mask when physical distancing is not possible. Thanks to this financial and logistics support from the Coca-Cola Foundation and its partners in PNG, Australian Red Cross has been able to bolster PNG Red Cross’ response to the unfolding situation across the country.” Ms Harrison said.

“We know the COVID-19 crisis is far from over. We are proud to use our resources to support the efforts of the Red Cross in helping to stop the spread in PNG,” The Coca-Cola Foundation President, Saadia Madsbjerg, said.

Photographs of delivery and distribution available on request.

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