The COVID-19 pandemic has caused havoc across the world, with even well-equipped health systems struggling to cope.
But some countries are more at risk of a catastrophic outbreak than others.
Even under normal conditions, many of our near neighbours in the Asia Pacific region struggle to provide essential healthcare and medicines to their citizens.
In Timor-Leste, just a few hours flight from our shores, there are just three ICU beds in the entire country and an estimated 70 per cent of health posts – where most people in rural areas seek healthcare – do not have access to running water. Women giving birth at remote health clinics have had to bring their own buckets of water with them for use during delivery.
Papua New Guinea faces similar challenges: having just one doctor per 10,000 people, compared to 36 doctors per 10,000 people here in Australia.
“If there is a major COVID outbreak in those countries, the consequences could be dire,” says Felicity. “People will not be able to access the testing or treatment they need.”
"To avoid this health emergency turning into a catastrophic humanitarian crisis for children, we need to help these countries assist their citizens and to be prepared in case of a major outbreak."
“To avoid this health emergency turning
into a catastrophic humanitarian crisis for
children, we need to help these countries.”