As Indian Ocean neighbours, Australia and Maldives share a long-standing and growing bilateral relationship. In the unprecedented global crisis unfolding as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever that friends continue to support each other.
Australia is supporting Maldives’ response to COVID-19, including:
- Provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline workers;
- Improved access to support services for women and girls; and
- Improved access to COVID-19 information for the blind and visually impaired.
Support for women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic
Australia has committed AUD 460,000 to UNFPA to support women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic in Maldives. Globally, experience shows that domestic, sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) increases during crises and disasters. It is important that support services for women and girls are maintained and continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australia’s support aims to:
- Strengthen the health system capacity to ensure continuity of sexual and reproductive health information and services, including protection of the health workforce; and
- Ensure continuity of GBV risk mitigation and life-saving GBV response services
Activities include capacity building for frontline workers on psychological first aid, the provision of PPE to ensure continuity of services, and the development of digitalised platforms and communications materials on available services for women.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline workers
Australia is supporting frontline workers in Maldives to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. On 28 July, Australian High Commissioner to Maldives David Holly and Australian Defence Adviser Group Captain Sean Unwin handed over Australian supplied Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Maldives High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, HE Omar Abdul Razzak, and Lieutenant Colonel Ismail Naseer, Defence Adviser to the High Commission of the Republic of Maldives in Sri Lanka.
The PPE consisted of 12,000 high quality coveralls and 200,000 gloves with a value of AUD 200,000, manufactured in Sri Lanka by Australian company Ansell, and will support Maldives’ efforts to minimise further transmission of COVID-19.
Australia's Department of Defence handing over PPE toLieutenant Colonel Ismail Naseer, Defence Adviser to the High Commission of the Republic of Maldives in Sri Lanka
Ensuring access to COVID-19 information for the blind and visually impaired
Members of the Thaana Mallow team at the launch of the app on 11 June (Photo credit: UNDP)
Access to timely information on COVID-19 for all is crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with UNDP, Australia’s support for the development of the Thaana Mallow application has connected the blind and visually impaired community to information on COVID-19 in the Maldivian language online, and has supported children to continue their studies online during the lockdown period.
The app is a screen reading application which converts Thaana (Dhivehi written script) to Latin Dhivehi which then allows existing and inbuilt phone screen readers to reads the text out loud. The app aims to address the gap in access to information, especially in Dhivehi for the blind and visually impaired community in the Maldives.
More information can be found here.