13 Jul 2021

St John Fiji gets leg up from NZ counterparts

3:44 pm on 13 July 2021

The St John ambulance service in New Zealand is sending emergency vehicles and lifesaving clinical equipment to help the people of Fiji.

This as the country reels from the impact of hundreds of new cases of Covid-19 every day.

St John Fiji requested help from its international ambulance counterparts.

St John New Zealand's James Stewart and Andrew Mumford

St John New Zealand's James Stewart and Andrew Mumford Photo: supplied

St John New Zealand manager James Stewart says it is providing four Toyota Land Cruisers with stretchers to enable Fiji ambulance staff to quickly locate, treat and transport patients.

"Fiji's ambulance service is stretched and stretched for resources and are particularly infrastructure being equipment and vehicles so that it obviously what we are prioritising. The hospital system over there has this large amount of Covid-19 cases would be a huge undertaking of any health system. Their amount of confirmed cases is now exceeding one percent of their population," he said.

St John NZ is also sending personal protective equipment, or PPE, including 2,000 gowns and masks, seven defibrillators, warm clothing for the ambulance officers, and money to cover the cost of oxygen cylinders.

The deputy chief executive of ambulance operations, Dan Ohs, said "we're in the business of helping people in need, and our brothers and sisters in Fiji need our support right now, so it is our duty to help them however we can."

Forum wants New Zealand and Australia to do more:

The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum says he has asked New Zealand and Australia if they could step up their aid to Fiji.

Henry Puna is in New Zealand at the moment and says he expressed the Forum's gratitude for the help already being given.

But said herd immunity is the only solution for Fiji now and if both the metropolitan countries could increase help to get more people vaccinated it would be greatly appreciated.

Mr Puna also said a Forum team going into Fiji to help is a possibility that he will raise during talks with Pacific ministers this week.

"That's a good opportunity to raise those issues with the ministers on behalf of the Forum and see what the response is, but I know that we all share the concern as to what is happening in Fiji and I am sure that member countries are willing to dig deep to help their fellow country people there," he said