Chairman SROS Board of Directors - Sulamanaia Montini Ott; Minister of SROS, UNDP's Resident Representative; UNICEF Rep - Dr Akshaya Mishra; UNDP Deputy RR - Verena Linneweber; SROS Board members - Dr Satupaitea Viali, Masoe Iosefa Tautua. Photo credit: UNDP/L.Lesa

APIA, 19 June 2020 – COVID-19 test kits and a machine to test for the virus, arrived today into Samoa and were handed over to the Scientific Research Organization of Samoa (SROS) to support the Government of Samoa in its response to the global pandemic.

This equipment, which will be used for COVID-19 testing purposes, were procured by UNDP, in collaboration with UNICEF, to support the Government of Samoa in addressing gaps in COVID-19 testing capacities.

The equipment, valued at USD 293,000 (795,451 Tala), will provide a significant boost to facilitating in-country testing for COVID-19 and have the capacity to test as many people who may need to.

As the scientific research arm of the Government, SROS is the recipient of these supplies which include 2,000 test kits and the Real Time-quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR) equipment which has the ability to test for COVID-19 and other invasive pathogens.

“This is a significant acquisition for the Government of Samoa because we did not have the capacity to test for COVID-19 before. This equipment will continue to help the Government keep Samoa COVID-free,” said the Minister of SROS, Lopaoo Natanielu Mu’a.

The arrival of the COVID-19 testing equipment will provide much needed support given the challenges of supplies entering the country with reduced frequency of flights into Samoa.

“The United Nations Development Programme is pleased to have been part of this support to the Government of Samoa. The Scientific Research Organization of Samoa and its forthcoming testing will be critical in the Government’s plan to proceed with repatriating Samoan citizens,” said UNDP Resident Representative, Jorn Sorensen.

“Access to proper testing is critical to keeping children and their families safe during this global pandemic,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Sheldon Yett.  “UNICEF is pleased to support efforts by the Government of Samoa to increase the country’s testing capacity.”

The equipment will increase Samoa’s testing capability thereby directly enabling the Government to safely repatriate Samoans stranded abroad.

This is part of UNDP and UNICEF health system support to the Government of Samoa, which also includes COVID-related assistance in other areas, including child protection, psychosocial support to families and children, and communicating with communities on how to prevent COVID-19.

-ENDS-

For media queries, please contact:
Laufaleaina Lesa, UNDP Multi Country Office, Samoa, Tel. +685 23670, laufaleaina.lesa@undp.org

Zubnah Khan, UNICEF Pacific, Fiji, Tel: +679 7157586, zukhan@unicef.org  

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UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. The UNDP Multi-Country Office in Samoa provides country and regional support to 4 countries in the Pacific, as part of the 177-country office UNDP network, and offers global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. www.ws.undp.org, Facebook: @UNDP in Samoa, Cook Islands, Tokelau & Niue, Twitter: @undpsamoa

About UNICEF:
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