The United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) is contributing $796.4 million (US$3.8M) to the Pan American Health Organization to help eight countries in the region contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Those countries are Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
In a press statement issued on Friday, May 22, the PAHO regional office said the funds from DFID will assist the countries in accessing critical medical equipment and other urgent supplies for the immediate health response to COVID-19.
This contribution is in addition to approximately $2 billion (US$9.9M) previously contributed by the UK Government via the World Health Organisation (WHO) allocations to support PAHO’s response strategy to COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean as outlined in its Donor Appeal.
According to the statement, PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne stated, “PAHO very much appreciates the strong partnership and long-standing support of the Government of the United Kingdom. We are grateful to UK-DFID for helping Caribbean Small Island developing states combat the serious COVID-19 pandemic and address the unique challenges, which they are facing.”
Meanwhile, Country Director for the UK DFID in the Caribbean, Stefan Kossoff expressed his country’s satisfaction in being a part of making the Caribbean COVID-19 free a possible success.
“We all face unprecedented challenges with COVID19, and UK assistance is supporting vulnerable health systems in the Caribbean and across the world – to save lives, protect vital services and reduce the risk of future waves of infection globally.”
Kossoff added that the UK stands with the Caribbean in ensuring that the support will help countries boost healthcare efforts and protect the most vulnerable.
The United Kingdom has also made a multi-million commitment for the development of a possible vaccine, which would help countries in the Americas realise the hope of controlling COVID-19.
With funds from DFID, PAHO will support the ongoing public health response which addresses the most pressing needs of the countries benefitting. This form of support will also ensure strong coordination and management as well as information sharing arrangements with other UN and regional/bilateral agencies to the maximize impact of the prevailing pandemic.
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