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UK contributes US$3.8m for COVID-19 response in the Caribbean

Jamaica Observer 2020-05-23 03:50:41

WASHINGTON, United States — The United Kingdom is contributing £3 million (US$3.8 million) to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to help eight countries of the Caribbean contain the spread of the COVID-19.

The contribution will help Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The funds from UK's Department for International Development (DFID) will assist Caribbean countries to access critical medical equipment and other urgent supplies for the immediate health response to COVID-19.

This new contribution is in addition to the US$9.9 million already provided by the UK Government via the World Health Organization (WHO) allocations to support PAHO's response strategy to COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The objective of the six-month project is to help save lives and reduce human-to-human transmission of the virus, including secondary infections in healthcare settings, through re-organization of health services and the implementation of Infection Prevention and Control measures.

It also aims to ensure early detection of COVID-19 cases by strengthening existing surveillance systems and scaling up laboratory capacity. Part of the strategy will also improve the communication of clear and transparent public health information about risks and protective measures to populations on the islands.

Pan American Health Organization Director Dr Carissa Etienne said “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 they are facing."

Stefan Kossoff, Country Director for the UK DFID in the Caribbean, said: “The UK Government is committed to supporting our Caribbean friends and partners through this crisis.  We all face unprecedented challenges with COVID-19, 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.”