Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced New Zealand will contribute NZ$1 million of funding towards the joint United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) and World Health Organisation (WHO) Pacific Regional Action Plan for Measles.
“Prevention through vaccination is the most effective way of avoiding illness and a costly health emergency. New Zealand has collaborated with UNICEF and WHO to identify regional vulnerabilities and opportunities for early interventions to prevent further outbreaks,” Minister Peters said.
“This plan offers immediate preventative action. It allows for the flexibility to respond to additional requests from other Pacific nations and offers an efficient way of working regionally.”
Activities under the plan include targeted vaccination for children up to the age of 5 years of age, supplementary vaccine doses for new mothers and their families to protect babies too young to be vaccinated and increased measles surveillance, public health and epidemiology support to those countries most at risk.
New Zealand’s support to the regional action plan is complementary to funding 200,000 vaccines for Fiji’s current mass vaccination campaign, provision of medical supplies and emergency funding to support the mobilisation of health workers to undertake vaccinations in Tonga and the extensive package of financial, material and personnel support in response to Samoa’s measles outbreak.
Mr Peters is currently in Samoa with Minister of Pacific Peoples, Hon Aupito William Sio.