I am pleased to announce Australia is providing up to $500,000 to help Pacific island countries counter the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

Stopping the spread of Zika in the Pacific is essential to protecting Australia from the virus, which has seen a resurgence in our region.

The initial focus will be on strengthening prevention and response capacity in Tonga, where there is a reported increase in the number of suspected cases.

The Government of Tonga is already undertaking a national response program and our assistance will help it reduce the spread of the virus.

Our support will contribute to the World Health Organization (WHO) Zika Virus Action Plan for the Pacific, which is aiming to ensure a coordinated response across our region, including improving surveillance, monitoring, access to testing, diagnosis and treatment.

In Tonga, Australia will work with the Tonga Ministry of Health and WHO on controlling the mosquito population and increasing access to testing.

Australia’s existing support to the Tonga Red Cross includes pre-positioned emergency health supplies. This includes 4000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets, which will be made available to the most vulnerable, including pregnant women and children.

We will also use our existing bilateral health program to help the Ministry of Health conduct on-the-ground campaigns, such as public awareness activities and clean-up days to remove standing water to reduce mosquito breeding sites.

Media enquiries

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