Australia extends partnership with the Tongan Ministry of Health

Nuku’alofa – May 14, 2020: 9.10pm (TONGA GOVT): The Government of Australia, through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), signed the amended Tonga Health Systems Support Program (THSSP) Phase 2 with the Ministry of Health up to 2021.

The extension is expected to provide MOH with additional funding for NCD related works while working on the design of the next programme.

Australian High Commissioner to Tonga, Adrian Morrison said Australia has been working in a long-term partnership with the Ministry of Health for more than 10 years now, through the Tonga Health Systems Support Programme.

“I am pleased to be extending our support for a further year, providing up to AUD$1.8million (around 2.7 million pa’anga) to continue this critical work for the next financial year.”

Mr Morrison also announced that the Government of Australia is committing a further AUD$1 million (or 1.5million pa’anga) to assist Tonga’s efforts and preparation for COVID-19.

“This will support the Ministry of Health’s efforts to increase its capacity to care for sick patients, monitor disease in the community, and promote good health and hygiene.”

“This commitment adds to the AUD$ 7 million (US$4.5 million) that we have already provided to Tonga in support of the government’s Economic and Social Stimulus Package. This is helping Tonga manage not only the health needs, but emerging economic and social impacts of the pandemic as well.”

Minister for Health Associate Professor ‘Amelia Afuha’amango Tu’ipulotu said the partnership has supported the Ministry of Health in various areas including;

*Development of the Package of Essential Health Services

*Establishment of mobility device service at Vaiola Hospital in 2019 with facility to provide orthotic and prosthetic devices (DFAT)

*Improve data availability and management

*Undertake staff development and capacity building

*Refurbish the Inpatient psychiatric facilities

*Undertake outer island visits for supervision and service delivery

*Carry out activities in efforts to prevent and mitigate the impact of NCD

*Fill critical staffing to ensure ongoing service delivery

* Respond to Zika, Measles and now COVID-19

Dr Afuha’amango also expressed her gratitude on behalf of the Government of Tonga to the Government Australia for their continuous financial contribution to the Kingdom of Tonga.

“Thank you for your ongoing investment on Health in Tonga and thank you for partnering with the Ministry of Health in its mission.”

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