BARMM receives 35 vaccine storage refs from IOM, New Zealand gov’t

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 21 February) – The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao last week received 35 biosafety refrigerators for storage of COVID-19 vaccines from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Government of New Zealand.

Dr. Amirel Usman, Officer-in-charge of the Bangsamoro’s Ministry of Health of received the equipment last Thursday at the Bangsamoro Government Center here.

“These biosafety refrigerators can be used as our cold storage for the COVID-19 vaccine once it become available,” Usman said.

This is another batch of assistance under the “Prepare, Prevent, Protect” program of the IOM in coordination with other donor governments.

Earlier, the governments of Germany and the United Kingdom donated vehicles and medical facilities to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable communities under the program “Kalusugan, nasa kamay MOH Bangsamoro!” (Health is in your hands, Bangsamoro!).

Usman said it is a good sign that the Bangsamoro Government is earning the trust and confidence of many countries “and they are very much willing to assist us in realizing the moral governance being espoused by the Bangsamoro leadership.”

On Friday, Bangsamoro Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo welcomed the delegation of UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Gustavo Gonzalez in the Bangsamoro Rapid Emergency Action Response on Disaster Incidence READi Operation Center in the Bangsamoro Government Center during the 1st Joint BARMM – Mindanao Humanitarian Team (MHT) Meeting for 2021.

 Gonzalez reiterated the peace gains in the region could be sustained and achieved through work partnerships.

“Challenges cannot be overcome without taking risks”, he said.

It was Gonzalez’ first visit to the Bangsamoro region. He co-chaired the joint meeting.

BARMM Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim, in a recorded video message, said he was grateful for the support coming from various international groups.

“I express my gratitude to Mindanao Humanitarian Team for their continuing support to the Bangsamoro people before and during this time of great need,” he said.

BARMM as of February 18 recorded 4,043 cases of COVID-19, of which 114 are active cases, 155 are deaths and 3,772 recoveries.

Five 100-bed isolation facilities have been constructed at the Cotabato Sanitarium Hospital, Datu Blah District Hospital in Upi, Maguindanao; Integrated Public Health Office in Jolo, Sulu; Datu Halad District Hospital in Tawi-tawi; and in Marantao, Lanao del Sur.

Usman said the other 100-bed isolation facilities that are still up for completion are in Serapio Montaner Hospital in Lanao del Sur, Buluan District Hospital in Maguindanao, and Lamitan Distrit Hospital in Basilan.

Areas identified for fixed-post vaccination are the Maguindanao Provincial Hospital in Shariff Aguak town; Amai Pakpak Medical Center in Marawi City; Sulu Provincial Hospital in Jolo; Datu Halon Sakilan in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi; Lamitan District Hospitan in Basilan; BARMM complex in Cotabato City and Police Regional Office  in Parang, Maguindanao. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)