By Caribbean News Global
WASHINGTON, USA, (PAHO) — The government of Canada has agreed to contribute CAD$7.5 million (about USD$5.3 million) to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for the response to COVID-19 in 23 countries of the Americas.
Canada’s contribution comes in addition to a previous allocation of CAD$1.5 million made to PAHO earlier this year to support the overall regional response to COVID-19, in response to priorities outlined in the donor appeal published by PAHO.
Canada’s minister of international development, Karina Gould, said, “The COVID-19 virus knows no borders and cooperation with international partners such as PAHO has been key to fighting this global pandemic and minimizing its impact on health systems. Canada recognizes the essential role that PAHO plays in responding to health challenges and emergencies in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
In the spirit of the ongoing collaboration with the Canadian government, Dr Etienne and minister Gould further discuss how to address the immediate needs and impact of the pandemic in the region of the Americas.
The contribution will benefit a total of 15 Caribbean countries – Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago and eight countries in Central and South America – Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, and Paraguay.
The collaboration will primarily support increased access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other critical supplies to assist countries in their efforts to save lives and limit the human-to-human transmission of the COVID-19 diseases, focusing on populations experiencing marginalization or vulnerability including health care workers.
PAHO director Carissa F. Etienne said, “We are grateful to the government of Canada for its contribution to the Pan American response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. This outbreak has caused large upheavals in the health systems of our region, and our countries need all the support they can get. Canadian backing for health protection measures in the Caribbean, Central and South America will help their health workers deal more effectively with these challenges.”
PAHO launched a Donor Appeal in March 2020 to support and scale-up COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts in the region of the Americas, seeking US$94.8 million for six months. So far, it has received US$52.7 million for urgent preparedness and response activities in response to COVID-19, including US$23.2 million channeled through the WHO and US$29.5 million directly to PAHO.
PAHO, as the specialized health agency in the Americas and the regional office of WHO is providing critical leadership, coordination, and assistance to fight the spread of COVID-19, save lives, and protect the most vulnerable peoples in all 52 countries and territories of the Americas.