The following was delivered remotely by Tonga’s Minister for Health Hon. Associate Professor ‘Amelia Afuha’amango Tu’ipulotu.
Kingdom of Tonga Intervention at the 73rd World Health Assembly 2020
18 May 2020
Honorable President and distinguished delegation,
1. The Kingdom of Tonga thank for the support provided by WHO under the strong leadership of Director General Dr Tedros and WPRO Regional Director Dr Takeshi Kasai.
2. We appreciate the:
a. Onsite financial and technical support by WHO country office,
b. Partner coordination and Pacific tailored support provided through Joint Incident Management Team for the Pacific countries in Fiji Sub regional office,
c. Weekly information session with RD WPRO,
d. Guidelines developed, and information shared from WHO HQ, which was adapted to the Tongan context
e. Procurement of items especially the Testing kits and PPEs.
3. So far, Tonga remains COVID-19 free, and we are working on a Policy document for opening of the border with strict facility based quarantine, strengthening contact tracing and case management, and engaging the community.
4. Tonga is taking this adversity as a momentum to strengthen health system, and already established and strengthened one of the community health center to be a COVID treatment center, and strengthened lab capacity to be able to conduct PCR testing.
5. Community Support has been tremendous and community are engaged and are more aware of infection prevention and control including importance of handwashing.
6. I would like to remind everyone that this Year is the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, and my thoughts are with them and frontline health staff supporting those in need and saving lives.
7. I am sure that Together, in Solidarity: we can All get out of this, Stronger:
8. We thank WHO and all partners for continued support for COVID-19 response and beyond, tailored to the Pacific and small island countries like the Kingdom of Tonga.
9. I, Thank you