US provides $95 million to Jamaica’s COVID-19 response

The United States Government has committed $95 million (US$700,000) to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in Jamaica.

“These funds will go directly toward Jamaica’s emergency response,” the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said in a news release, adding that Washington, via USAID, is coordinating with the Government of Jamaica, international humanitarian partners, and other stakeholders to identify priority areas for investment.

“To date, the Government of Jamaica has done a commendable job at addressing the spread of COVID-19 in the country. These funds will directly support emergency response activities that are vital for helping to flatten the curve here in Jamaica,” the release quotes US Ambassador to Jamaica Donald Tapia.

USAID explained that the emergency response resource will support:

• Case management to strengthen clinical care while minimising the risk of onwards transmission to others;

• Infection prevention and control in health care facilities;

• Laboratory strengthening to prepare systems for large-scale testing of COVID-19;

• Communications to help educate people on steps they can take to prevent and respond to the spread of the virus through country-specific media campaigns; and

• Surveillance and rapid response to enhance case-finding and event-based surveillance for COVID-19.

Noting that this assistance builds upon US investments of nearly US$87 million in health and almost US$619 million in total over the past 20 years for Jamaica, the agency pointed out that the United States has been the world’s largest provider of bilateral assistance in public health for decades.

“Since 2009, American taxpayers have generously made available more than US$100 billion in health assistance and nearly US$70 billion in humanitarian assistance globally,” USAID reiterated, adding that the donations are underscored by America’s contributions to several crucial multilateral partners.

For instance, US contributions to the World Health Organization in 2019 exceeded US$400 million, almost double the second-largest member state’s contribution, while support to the United Nations Refugee Agency is unmatched with nearly US$1.7 billion contributed in 2019.

That assistance programme is even more relevant now, given that refugee populations are uniquely vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Support for the life-saving activities of United Nations Children’s Fund has been an American priority for nearly 75 years, and US contributions in 2019 totalled more than US$700 million,” the agency said.

It called on other donors to contribute to the global effort to combat COVID-19 “because an infectious-disease threat anywhere can be a threat everywhere”.

More information about USAID’s response to COVID-19 can be found at https://www.usaid.gov/coronavirus-covid-19

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