The US government on Tuesday announced a commitment of $37 million in financing for 25 countries including Bangladesh which are either affected by novel coronavirus COVID-19 or at high risk of its spread.
The US government is providing these funds to the World Health Organization, other multilateral institutions, and programs led by USAID's implementing partners from the Emergency Reserve Fund for Contagious Infectious Diseases at the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
These are the first US government funds committed from the pledge of up to $100 million announced by the US Department of State on February 7, 2020.
Because an infectious-disease threat anywhere can be a threat everywhere, the US called on other donors to contribute to the effort to combat COVID-19 as well.
Building on ongoing USAID and other U.S. Government investments to help prepare and respond to infectious diseases under the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), the new funding will help address the threat of COVID-19 in the high-priority countries including Bangladesh, said the US Embassy in Dhaka.
Other countries are Afghanistan, Angola, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, South Africa, Tajikistan, the Philippines, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, Myanmar, Cambodia, Ethiopia, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Lao Democratic People's Republic, Mongolia. Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
Funds that are going to the WHO will help the governments of currently affected or at-risk developing countries prepare their laboratories for large-scale testing for COVID-19, implement a public-health emergency plan for points of entry, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance for influenza-like illnesses, train and equip rapid-response teams, investigate cases and trace the contacts of infected persons, and adapt training materials for health workers on COVID-19.
Funds that are going through a broad range of other partners will support six broad areas of work: laboratory-strengthening; surveillance for, and rapid response to, infectious diseases; risk-communications and engagement with communities; public-health screening at points of entry; the prevention and control of infections in health facilities; and the management of cases of COVID-19.
In addition, in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, which originated in Wuhan, in the People's Republic of China, USAID has reviewed, and responded to, requests from the governments of affected countries for donations from our emergency international stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE).
In close coordination with the WHO and the White House Coronavirus Task Force, this distribution of PPE - such as goggles, gowns, face shields/masks, and gloves- complements previous charitable donations from many U.S. private-sector entities.
For decades, the United States has been the world's largest provider of bilateral assistance in public health, said a media release.
Between USAID and the US Department of State, American taxpayers generously have made available more than $90 billion dollars for health globally since 2009.