The United States Government recently announced plans to provide $1.5 million in urgent COVID-19 assistance through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for countries including Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, The Bahamas, Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
This assistance will be focused on helping countries with vaccine deployment and readiness, and includes efforts to address vaccine hesitancy and combat vaccine mis- and dis-information. The additional support will assist with community vaccination campaigns and engagement activities, strengthen the cold chain environment, train healthcare workers, and develop regional and country specific campaigns to increase vaccine uptake.
Activities will be implemented through local, regional, and international organizations such as the local Ministries of Health, local non-governmental organizations, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), UNICEF, and the USAID Country Health Information Systems and Data Use (CHISU) project implemented by JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc.
U.S. Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, Linda Taglialatela, remarked, “Through this funding, the United States is extending a helping hand to countries to aid in health and economic recovery from the devastation of COVID-19.”
USAID Regional Representative for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, Clinton. D. White, noted, “The funding will fill key gaps to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine uptake, and strengthen countries’ preparedness for future pandemic threats.”
This additional assistance builds on previous COVID-19 support provided to Caribbean countries. USAID has provided nearly $63 million in COVID-19 assistance to the Caribbean to address the health, humanitarian, and economic impacts of COVID-19. This includes more than $7 million specifically for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean region since the beginning of the pandemic.
USAID’s COVID-19 assistance to Caribbean countries has allowed for the procurement of more than 7,000 test kits and more than 3,000 pieces of protective gear for health workers. Through the United States Government’s assistance, these countries have also received ambulances and vehicles for patient transport. In addition, communications campaigns to promote health and safety have reached more than 1.2 million people. Finally, the funds have facilitated the provision of psychosocial support for more than 95,000 parents and caregivers, as well as assisted with the installation of more than 300 handwashing stations across the Caribbean.
Diseases know no borders. The United States Government is committed to partnering with their Caribbean neighbors, partners, and friends to end the COVID-19 pandemic, save lives, and stop the threat of dangerous new variants. U.S. Embassy in Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS