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Merck Foundation together with African First Ladies continue their strategy to provide specialty training for African doctors to better manage diabetes and hypertension patients
May 22, 2020 | 0 Comments
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation acknowledge some of Merck Foundation Alumni, future Diabetes and Hypertension experts in Africa and Asia
Merck Foundation has also started Coronavirus healthcare capacity building by providing online one-year diploma and two-year master degree in Respiratory Medicine and Acute Medicine for African Doctors

Merck Foundation , the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany in partnership with African First Ladies and Ministries of Health, continue their strategy to provide one-year diploma and two-year master degree in both Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine and Diabetes for medical postgraduates from more than 35 African and Asian countries.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation and One of 100 Most Influential Africans emphasized, “Amidst the pandemic that has rocked the world, we must not forget people living with other health conditions such as Diabetes and Hypertension because they are the Coronavirus risk groups therefore Merck Foundation continues to build Hypertension and Diabetes care training to doctors, in partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health and Academia. Moreover, we also provide training to doctors from Asian countries”.

Merck Foundation has so far enrolled and trained over 183 Medical postgraduates from over 35 countries. As a part of their efforts to build hypertension and diabetes care capacity, Merck Foundation enroll medical postgraduates for One Year Online Diploma and Two Year online master degree in Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine and Diabetes from reputable university in UK. Additionally, they also enroll doctors for a three-month Diabetes Master course from English, French and Portuguese speaking African countries to advance their clinical knowledge in tackling these non-communicable conditions.

Merck Foundation started capacity building of Coronavirus healthcare through providing online one-year diplomas and two year master degree in both Respiratory Medicine and Acute Medicine from UK University, for African doctors.

Dr. Sofia Jarombwereni Natshikare Nepembe, Merck Foundation alumnus from Namibia says, “I feel fortunate to be a part of this program and receive the Postgraduate one-year Diploma in Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine as part of Merck Foundation capacity advancement program. The course has enabled me to learn the advanced scientific developments for prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. The course has helped me to serve my patients better. Merck Foundation is doing a great job by providing postgraduate degrees for doctors like me who are eager to specialize to better serve their communities.”

“We are committed to enroll more doctors for these courses to be able to build a platform of hypertension and diabetes experts in underserved communities. These online courses is the right strategy to scale up our efforts to improve access to quality healthcare solutions widely and effectively especially during Coronavirus lockdown”, explained Dr. Rasha Kelej.

The program started in 35 countries such as: Bangladesh, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Merck Foundation , established in 2017, is the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany, aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people and advance their lives through science and technology. Our efforts are primarily focused on improving access to quality & equitable healthcare solutions in underserved communities, building healthcare and scientific research capacity and empowering people in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) with a special focus on women and youth.

Merck is a leading science and technology company in healthcare, life science and performance materials. Almost 52,000 employees work to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions.

Founded in 1668, Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed corporate group. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the company operates as EMD Serono, MilliporeSigma
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U.S Has Committed Support to Benefit Over 120 Countries with over 40 in Africa amid Covid-19
May 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Mohammed M.Mupenda

U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks said the U.S. Government is donating up to 1000 much needed ventilators and accompanying equipment to South Africa to assist with its national response to COVID-19.Photo USAID
U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks said the U.S. Government is donating up to 1000 much needed ventilators and accompanying equipment to South Africa to assist with its national response to COVID-19.Photo USAID

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 was reported, American people have given more than $10 billion that will benefit the global COVID-19 response, while the United States Government itself has injected more than 900 million in State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). 

“This funding, provided by Congress, will save lives by improving public health education; protecting healthcare facilities; and increasing laboratory, disease-surveillance, and rapid-response capacity in more than 120 countries,” said the US Department of State in a release.

Hitherto, the US foreign assistance funding for the response to the COVID-19 pandemic includes an initial $23 million meant for specifically providing ventilators to some of her partners and allies and vows to make “future additional purchases and shipments of ventilators and related supplies”.

The COVID-19 assistance to-date from the State Department and USAID includes the following:

  • Nearly $300 million in emergency health assistance from USAID’s Global Health Emergency Reserve Fund for Contagious Infectious-Disease Outbreaks and Global Health Programs account.  These funds prioritize interventions to mitigate the pandemic and prepare communities in developing countries affected and at-risk of COVID-19.
  • Nearly $300 million in humanitarian assistance from USAID’s International Disaster Assistance (IDA) account.  This assistance supports case management and keeps essential health services operating; provides risk communication and community engagement programs; supports infection, prevention, and control efforts; provides safe water and hygiene items; and strengthens local capacity and coordination by working with existing health structures and with others in the humanitarian community. These funds prioritize populations affected by ongoing humanitarian crises, particularly displaced people, because of their heightened vulnerability, the elevated risk of severe outbreaks in camps and informal settlements, and anticipated disproportionate mortality in these populations.
  • More than $150 million from the Economic Support Fund (ESF) account.  These funds promote American foreign-policy interests by financing shorter-term mitigation efforts and addressing the second-order impacts of the pandemic in the long term, across a variety of sectors.
  • Nearly $160 million in humanitarian assistance from the Migration and Refugee Assistance (MRA) account, provided through the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.  These funds help international organizations and NGO partners address challenges posed by the pandemic in refugee, IDP, and host communities as well as other among migrants and other vulnerable people.

This assistance from the State Department and USAID does not include hundreds of millions more being provided by other U.S. Government Departments and Agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Defense (DoD).  New COVID-19 foreign assistance is provided in addition to the more than $100 billion in global health funding and nearly $70 billion in overseas humanitarian assistance provided by the United States in the last decade alone.

In addition to this direct funding from the U.S. Government, our All-of-America approach is helping people around the world through the generosity of American private businesses, non-profit groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, and individuals, who have now provided more than $4.3 billion in donations and assistance globally, more than any other nation.

To meet the most urgent needs, U.S. Government Departments and Agencies are coordinating efforts to prioritize foreign assistance to maximize the potential for impact.  The United States is providing the following assistance through the State Department and USAID:

Africa:

  • Angola:  $570,000 for health assistance is helping provide risk-communications and water and sanitation, and prevent and control infections in key health facilities in Angola.  This assistance comes on top of long-term U.S. investments in Angola, which total $1.48 billion over the past 20 years, including over $613 million for health assistance.
  • Bénin:  $1.5 million in health assistance will help Béninois respond to the outbreak by funding the coordination and planning of outbreak-response activities, strengthening surveillance and rapid-response capabilities, and risk-communications and engagement with communities. This assistance joins $1.72 billion in total assistance for Benin over the past 20 years, over $364 million of which was for health.  
  • Botswana:  $1.5 million in health assistance to address the outbreak.  Funding will support risk-communications and community engagement, with a focus on the most vulnerable populations, the procurement of essential health commodities and logistic support, and strengthening case-management and the prevention and control of infections in key health facilities.  This assistance builds on nearly $1.2 billion in total assistance in Botswana over the last 20 years, over $1.1 billion of which has been for health.
  • Burkina Faso:  Nearly $7 million in health and humanitarian funding will go toward risk-communications, water and sanitation, preventing and controlling infections in health facilities, public-health messaging, and more.  This includes $2.5 million in health assistance, $1.5 million in IDA humanitarian assistance, and nearly $2.8 million in MRA humanitarian assistance, which will help protect the health of vulnerable people in Burkina Faso during the pandemic.  Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested more than $2.4 billion total in Burkina Faso, including over $222 million for health alone.
  • Burundi: More than $3 million in total funding for the response to COVID-19 includes $2 million in health assistance and more than $1 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to help protect the health of vulnerable people.  The health assistance will improve the planning and coordination of response activities, the strengthening of surveillance and rapid-response capabilities, strengthening capacities for case-management and the prevention and control of infections, and the training of health workers.  The United States has invested more than $997 million in total assistance for Burundi, including more than $254 million for health, over the past 20 years.
  • Cameroon:  Nearly $8 million for health and humanitarian assistance will help provide infection-control in key health facilities, strengthen laboratories and surveillance, prepare communities, and bolster local messaging.  This includes $6.1 million for health and IDA humanitarian assistance from USAID, in addition to nearly $1.9 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to support refugees, IDPs, and host communities.  This assistance builds upon more than $960 million in total U.S. investment in the country over the past 20 years, over $390 million of which has been for health.
  • Central African Republic:  More than $10 million in humanitarian assistance, including $6.5 million in IDA humanitarian assistance that will go toward risk-communications, preventing and controlling infections in health facilities, and safe water supplies, and more than $3.5 million in MRA humanitarian assistance that will help protect the health of vulnerable people in the Central African Republic during the pandemic.  The U.S. Government has provided $822.6 million in total in the Central African Republic over the last 20 years, including $4.5 million in emergency health assistance in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019.
  • Republic of Congo (ROC):  $250,000 in health assistance will address the outbreak, by supporting the coordination and planning of response activities, risk- communications and community-outreach activities and the training of health workers in protocols for preventing and controlling infections in health facilities.  The United States has invested in the Republic of Congo for decades, including more than $171.2 million in total U.S. assistance over the last 20 years, over $36.9 million of which has been for health.
  • Chad:  More than $3.5 million in humanitarian assistance, including $1 million from the IDA account for preventing and controlling infections in health facilities, raising community awareness of COVID-19, and improving hygiene, and nearly $2.6 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to help protect the health of vulnerable people in Chad during the pandemic.  This new assistance builds upon the foundation of nearly $2 billion in total U.S. assistance over the last 20 years, including more than $30 million for health.
  • Côte d’Ivoire:  $3.2 million in health assistance to address the outbreak by financing risk-communications and community engagement; the training of health care providers in protocols for preventing and controlling infections in health facilities and the appropriate management of cases of COVID-19 and influenza-like illnesses; and ensuring these facilities  are appropriately supplied with essential health commodities.  Funding will also finance the training of health workers in critical community-level surveillance techniques, such as case-finding and contact-tracing.  Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested more than $2.1 billion in long-term development and other assistance in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC):  More than $26 million in total including $16 million for health and IDA humanitarian assistance that will improve the prevention and control of infections in health facilities, and support improved awareness of COVID-19, including by working with religious leaders and journalists on risk-communication messaging.  More than $5 million in MRA humanitarian assistance will help protect vulnerable people in the DRC during the pandemic.  The $6 million of health assistance funding will support supply-chain management and logistics, as well as the procurement of essential health commodities; strengthening critical disease-surveillance activities, including community-based surveillance, contact-tracing, and case-finding; strengthening practices to prevent and control infections at health facilities and train health workers, as well as community-based efforts to improve access to water and basic hygiene materials, with the direct distribution of kits to households to prevent infections.  Health assistance also will support mobilizing thousands of volunteers in targeted, high-risk Provinces to conduct risk-communications and community-engagement activities.  Finally, approximately $5 million in ESF will go toward distance and alternative education for Congolese children and youth so they can continue to learn and maintain protective routines and social connections while schools remain closed across the country.  This builds upon more than $6.3 billion in total U.S. assistance over the past 20 years, including more than $1.5 billion for health.
  • Djibouti:  $750,000 in total, including $500,000 in health assistance to address the outbreak and $250,000 in MRA humanitarian assistance to assist vulnerable migrants and host communities as they deal with the pandemic.  Health assistance will support strengthening the capacity for testing, supply-planning, supply-chain management and the distribution of urgent health commodities needed for COVID-19.  The health assistance also will fund risk-communications and community-outreach activities, the training of health workers to implement protocols to prevent and control infections in health facilities and manage cases of COVID-19; and disease-surveillance and rapid-response protocols and functionality.  The United States has already invested more than $338 million in Djibouti over the last 20 years.
  • Eswatini: $1.1 million in health assistance to address the outbreak by bolstering Eswatini’s emergency health response, which could include the procurement of supplies, contact-tracing, laboratory diagnostics, and raising public awareness.  This assistance builds upon the foundation of U.S. Government investments in the Kingdom, which total more than $529 million assistance over the last 20 years, including more than $490 million for health.
  • Ethiopia:  More than $23.4 million in assistance to counter COVID-19, including $3.4 million for health and $7.5 million in IDA humanitarian assistance for risk-communications, the prevention and control of infections in health facilities, disease-surveillance, contact-tracing, and coordination; $7 million in ESF that will support continuing operation at a major industrial park in Hawassa to preserve critical jobs,; and more than $5.6 million in MRA humanitarian assistance for vulnerable people, including refugees, migrants, and host communities.  The health assistance will support strengthening outbreak-response capabilities, including community-based surveillance for case-finding and contact-tracing; strengthening laboratory diagnostic capacity; and optimizing case-management and practices to prevent and control infections in  health facilities.  Health assistance will also fund risk-communications and community-engagement activities.  This assistance is in addition to the United States’ long-term investments in Ethiopia over the past 20 years of more than $13 billion in total assistance, over $4 billion has been for health alone.
  • Ghana:  $1.6 million in health assistance to address the outbreak by strengthening outbreak-response capabilities, including community-based surveillance for case-finding and contact-tracing; improve laboratory diagnostic capacity; optimize the management of COVID-19 cases and the prevention and control of infections in health facilities; and promote risk-communications and community-engagement activities.  This new assistance builds upon $3.8 billion in total U.S. Government investments in Ghana over the last 20 years, including over $914 million for health.
  • Guinea:  $1.3 million in health assistance to address the outbreak by financing risk-communications and community-outreach activities, the training of health workers to implement protocols to prevent and control infections in health facilities; and disease-surveillance and rapid-response protocols and functionality.  The United States has invested nearly $1 billion in total assistance in Guinea over the last 20 years, including over $365.5 million for health.
  • Kenya:  Nearly $4.4 million for health and humanitarian assistance, including $3.5 million in health and IDA humanitarian assistance to bolster risk-communications; prepare health-communication networks and media for possible cases; and help provide public-health messaging for media, health workers, and communities; and $947,000 in MRA humanitarian assistance for refugees and host communities.  This assistance specific to COVID-19 comes on top of long-term U.S. Government investments in Kenya, which total $11.7 billion over the last 20 years, including more than $6.7 billion for health alone.
  • Lesotho:  $750,000 in health assistance to address the outbreak by strengthening outbreak-response capabilities, including community-based surveillance for case-finding and contact tracing, strengthening laboratory diagnostic capacity, and optimizing case-management and the prevention and control of infections in health facilities.  The health assistance also will finance risk-communications and community-engagement activities.  This new assistance builds upon decades of U.S. investments in Lesotho, which total more than $1 billion over the last 20 years, including more than $834 million for health.
  • Liberia:  $1.3 million for health assistance will provide critical aid for all 15 Liberian Counties (emergency operation centers, training, contact-tracing, hospitals, and community health care), support quarantine efforts, and provide village-level support.  The United States has helped lay a strong foundation for Liberia’s response to COVID-19 through more than $4 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years, including more than $675 million for health.
  • Madagascar:  $2.5 million in health assistance to address the outbreak by strengthening laboratory capacity for diagnostics; deploying  mobile laboratories for decentralized diagnosis; improving regional and District surveillance, including data systems and the training of community health volunteers in contact-tracing; promoting risk-communications and community-engagement activities, including a staffed hotline, mass-media campaigns and prevention messages; the training of health professionals infection and prevention control training, procurement of essential health commodities, and improvements in waste management. The United States has invested more than $1.5 billion in total assistance for Madagascar over the last 20 years, including over $722 million for health alone.
  • Malawi: $4.5 million in health assistance to address the outbreak. Funding will support the COVID-19 response and preparedness activities at the district level, including surveillance activities, strengthening infection and prevention control practices, screening at points of entry, and case management. Funding will also support risk communication and community engagement, including radio and social media campaigns; and technical assistance to optimize supply chain logistics and management. The United States has provided more than $3.6 billion in total assistance for Malawi over the past 20 years, including more than $1.7 billion for health.
  • Mali: More than $8.4 million in assistance for the response to COVID-19, which includes $2.4 million for health assistance and $2 million in IDA humanitarian assistance for risk-communications, the prevention and control of infections in health facilities, and coordination; and more than $4 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to support vulnerable in Mali during the pandemic. Health assistance will support risk-communications and community engagement, including by establishing community communication networks with modern and traditional and to call on citizens to counter misinformation and rumors, as well as support to the Ministry of Health’s National Hotline; strengthening diagnostic networks and disease-surveillance systems, optimizing real-time surveillance to accelerate the detection and investigation of cases and contact-tracing and train and mobilize existing community-surveillance, early-warning and emergency rapid-response teams to report infections and assist ill persons in getting prompt and appropriate care.  The health funding also will finance activities to prevent and control infections at priority case-detection points (including points of entry to Mali along high-traffic cargo routes) and public and community health facilities, including through the procurement of equipment and supplies to prevent infections and manage medical waste. This new assistance builds upon decades of U.S. investments in Mali, which total more than $3.2 billion over the last 20 years, including more than $807 million for health.
  • Mauritania: $250,000 in health assistance to address the outbreak by financing risk-communications and community-engagement activities, strengthening supply-chain management and logistics, and improving the prevention and control of infections in health facilities. The United States has provided more than $424 million in total assistance over the last 20 years for Mauritania, including more than $27 million for health, which builds a strong foundation for their pandemic response.
  • Mauritius: $500,000 in health assistance to address the outbreak under the national response strategy for COVID-19, including by strengthening coordination and logistics; developing and disseminating risk-communications and prevention materials at the community level; strengthening protocols for the prevention and control of infections in health facilities; disseminating case-management guidelines and training health workers in their use; improving surveillance and rapid-response protocols and functionality; and expanding laboratory capacity.  This new assistance builds upon the foundation of more than $13 million in total U.S. Government investments over the past 20 years, including more than $838,000 for health.
  • Mozambique: $6.8 million, including $4.8 million for health assistance and $2 million in IDA humanitarian funding will finance risk-communications and community engagement, including mass-media prevention messages; water and sanitation; and the prevention and control of infections in key health facilities in Mozambique.  The health assistance also will fund the training of health workers in case-management and ensuring health facilities are prepared to respond to the outbreak. The United States has invested nearly $6 billion in Mozambique over the past 20 years, including more than $3.8 billion for health.
  • Namibia: $750,000 in health assistance to address the outbreak by improving laboratory capacity for diagnostics and technical assistance in supply-chain management and logistics. This new assistance comes in addition to nearly $1.5 billion in total U.S. Government investments to Namibia over the past 20 years, including more than $970.5 million in long-term health assistance.
  • Niger: Nearly $5.4 million in assistance includes nearly $800,000 million for health assistance and $2 million in IDA humanitarian assistance for risk-communications, the prevention and control of infectious diseases in health facilities, and coordination; and more than $2.6 million in MRA humanitarian assistance will support vulnerable people in Niger during the pandemic, including refugees, and vulnerable migrants, and host communities. This assistance comes on top of more than $2 billion in total U.S. Government investments for Niger in the past 20 years, nearly $233 million for health alone.
  • Nigeria: More than $30.3 million in assistance, which includes more than $3.3 million for health assistance and $23 million in IDA humanitarian funding for risk-communications, water and sanitation, infection-prevention, and coordination; and nearly $4.1 million in MRA humanitarian assistance for vulnerable people. This assistance joins more than $8.1 billion in total assistance for Nigeria over the past 20 years, including more than $5.2 billion in U.S. health assistance.
  • Rwanda: $2.2 million in assistance for Rwanda’s response to COVID-19 includes $1.7 million for health assistance that will help with disease-surveillance and case-management, and $474,000 in MRA humanitarian assistance to support refugees and host communities in Rwanda. This comes on top of long-term U.S. Government investments in Rwanda that total more than $2.6 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years, including more than $1.5 billion for health.
  • Sénégal: $3.9 million in health assistance to support risk-communications, water and sanitation, the prevention and control of infections in health facilities, public health messaging, and more. In Sénégal, the U.S. has invested nearly $2.8 billion in total over the past 20 years, nearly $880 million for health.
  • Sierra Leone: $1.7 million in health assistance to address the outbreak by strengthening surveillance activities, case-finding, contact-tracing, risk-communications, community engagement, and the management of cases of COVID-19 at health facilities. This assistance joins decades of U.S. investments in Sierra Leone, totaling more than $5.2 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years, including nearly $260 million for health.
  • Somalia: More than $17.1 million, including $12.6 million in IDA and $4.5 million in MRA humanitarian assistance for the response to COVID-19 will fund risk-communications, the prevention and control of infectious diseases in health facilities, case-management, and more, including for refugee returnees,  vulnerable migrants, and host communities. This assistance comes in addition to $5.3 billion in total assistance for Somalia over the last 20 years, including nearly $30 million for health.
  • South Africa: Approximately $8.4 million in health assistance to counter COVID-19 will fund risk-communications, water and sanitation, the prevention and control of infections in health facilities, public health messaging, and more.  The United States has also pledged to send up to 1,000 ventilators to South Africa, the first 50 of which arrived on May 11, 2020.  This assistance joins more than $7 billion in total assistance by the United States for South Africa in the past 20 years, nearly $6 billion invested for health.
  • South Sudan: Nearly $21.8 million in assistance for South Sudan’s response to COVID-19 includes $13.4 million in IDA humanitarian assistance for case-management, the prevention and control of infections, logistics, coordination efforts, risk-communications, water, sanitation and hygiene; $2.75 million in health programming; and more than $5.6 million in MRA humanitarian assistance that will support refugees, IDPs, and host communities in South Sudan during the pandemic.  The health assistance will fund expanding the training of health workers and peer educators on proper practices to prevent and control infections in health facilities to protect communities and patients, particularly those at high risk or who are immunocompromised; strengthening capabilities in health facilities and in the community to manage and refer cases of COVID-19.  The health assistance also will fund expanding efforts to address community concerns, including by tracking and combating rumors, misconceptions, and grievances. This funding builds upon past U.S. investments in South Sudan totaling $6.4 billion over the past 20 years, including more than $405 million for health.
  • Sudan: More than $24.1 million in assistance includes $16.8 million in IDA humanitarian assistance for strengthening laboratory capacity, disease-surveillance and contact-tracing, case-management, risk-communications, case-management, disease-surveillance, the prevention and control of infections, and water, sanitation and hygiene; $5 million in ESF for cash assistance to vulnerable families adversely affected by COVID-19; and more than $1.3 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to support vulnerable people. The United States has invested more than $1.6 billion in total assistance for Sudan over the last 20 years, of which more than $3 million was for health.
  • Tanzania: $3.4 million for health assistance funds the strengthening of laboratory capacity for optimal diagnostics,  risk-communications, water and sanitation, the prevention and control of infections, public health messaging, and more. The United States has invested more than $7.5 billion total in Tanzania over the past 20 years, nearly $4.9 billion for health.
  • Uganda: $3.6 million in assistance includes $2.3 million in health assistance to address the outbreak and nearly $1.3 million in MRA humanitarian assistance will support refugees and host communities in Uganda during the pandemic. The health assistance will strengthen the prevention and control of infections and case-management practices in health facilities, including by training health workers in new protocols; promote risk-communications and community engagement, including materials and messages to address most vulnerable groups; and improve management systems to ensure the accountability and availability of, and access to, health commodities, essential medicines, and health supplies in health facilities to maintain the continuity of services. This assistance is provided in addition to the nearly $8 billion in total U.S. Government investments for Uganda over the last 20 years and nearly $4.8 billion for health.
  • Zambia: $3.4 million for health assistance will fund risk-communications, water and sanitation, the prevention and control of infections, public health messaging, and more. This new assistance joins $4.9 billion total U.S. Government investments for Zambia over the past 20 years, nearly $3.9 billion in U.S. health assistance.
  • Zimbabwe: Nearly $5 million, including nearly $3 million for health assistance and $2 million for IDA humanitarian assistance will help to prepare laboratories for large-scale testing, support case-finding activities for influenza-like illnesses, implement a public-health emergency plan for points of entry, and more.  The health assistance will fund the strengthening of laboratory capacity, the prevention and control and management of cases of COVID-19 in health facilities, including hand-washing stations, screening centers, preparing hospitals to be ready to treat COVID-19 patients, training health workers, and setting up alternative care-delivery points.  Funding also will also support the training rapid-response teams, community health workers and volunteers; and risk communication and community engagement.  This new assistance builds on a history of U.S. investments in Zimbabwe – nearly $3 billion total over the past 20 years, nearly $1.2 billion of which was for health.
  • Regional Efforts in the Sahel: $5 million in ESF will strengthen the efforts of partner governments and civil society to manage and respond to COVID-19 with transparent communication and response. These investments will cover Burkina Faso, Niger, The Gambia, Chad, and Mali.
  • Regional Efforts in West Africa: $5 million in ESF will go towards conducting information campaigns with local authorities and communities and engaging community groups, community radio stations, and local media actors to develop targeted messaging in local languages. This assistance will also engage citizens in local-led advocacy, dialogue, and inclusive behavior change.  These investments will cover Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Bénin, and Guinea.
  • Regional Sub-Saharan Africa Humanitarian Assistance: More than $6 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to help vulnerable people during the pandemic.

Asia:

  • Afghanistan: More than $18.7 million in U.S. assistance specifically provided for Afghanistan’s COVID-19 response includes more than $5.6 million for health and IDA humanitarian assistance to support the detection and treatment of COVID-19 for IDPs, and nearly $3.1 million in MRA humanitarian assistance for Afghan returnees. In addition, the United States has redirected $10 million in existing resources to support the United Nations Emergency Response Plan for COVID-19 to conduct disease-surveillance, improve laboratories, manage cases of the disease, prevent and control infections in health facilities, engage with local communities, and provide technical assistance to the Government of Afghanistan. 
  • Bangladesh: More than $25.7 million in assistance includes $10.3 million for health and IDA humanitarian assistance to help with case-management, surveillance activities, infection prevention and control, risk communication, and water, sanitation, and hygiene programs, and more than $15.3 million in MRA humanitarian support for vulnerable people during the pandemic, including refugees and host communities. This builds upon nearly $4 billion in total U.S. assistance over the past 20 years, which includes more than $1 billion for health.
  • Bhutan: $1 million in total assistance for COVID-19 response includes $500,000 in ESF to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to generate income for those affected by COVID-19.  It also includes $500,000 in health assistance to strengthen diagnostic laboratory capabilities and clinical case-management, provide virtual training for health care providers and lab personnel, and design and produce risk-communications materials. This assistance builds upon more than $6.5 million in total U.S. Government investments over the past 20 years, including $847,000 for health.
  • Burma: Nearly $13.5 million total, including approximately $6.5 million for health and $4.8 million in IDA humanitarian assistance for the prevention and control of infections in health facilities, case-management, laboratories, risk-communications and community engagement, as well as water and sanitation supplies, including assistance to IDP camps that are facing water shortages. This also includes nearly $2.2 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to support vulnerable people and host communities during the pandemic. This assistance comes on top of long-term U.S. Government investments in Burma that total more than $1.3 billion over the past 20 years, which includes more than $176 million for health.
  • Cambodia: More than $11 million in total assistance for the response to COVID-19 includes $5 million in ESF for relief and job-skills training for vulnerable people, such as returning migrants, and expanded efforts to counter trafficking and protect children. It also includes more than $6 million in health assistance to help the Cambodian Government prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, communicate risk, support technical experts for response and preparedness, and more.  The U.S. Government has invested more than $1.6 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years, which includes more than $730 million for health.
  • India: Nearly $5.9 million in health assistance to help India slow the spread of COVID-19, provide care for the affected, disseminate essential public health messages to communities, strengthen case-finding and surveillance, and mobilize innovative financing mechanisms for emergency preparedness and response to the pandemic. This builds on a foundation of nearly $2.8 billion in total assistance to India over the last 20 years, which includes more than $1.4 billion for health.
  • Indonesia: $11 million includes more than $9 million in health and IDA humanitarian assistance to help the Indonesian Government prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, and more.  It also includes nearly $1.5 million in MRA humanitarian assistance for refugees, vulnerable migrants, and their host communities.  The U.S. Government has invested more than $5 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years, including more than $1 billion for health.
  • Kazakhstan: More than $3.1 million for health assistance will help prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk communication, and more. This new assistance builds upon U.S. investments of more than more than $2 billion in total assistance over the last 20 years, including $86 million for health.
  • Kyrgyz Republic: Approximately $900,000 for health assistance will help prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk communication, and more. The United States has invested nearly $1.2 billion in total assistance for Kyrgyzstan over the past 20 years, including more than $120 million for health.
  • Laos: Nearly $4.5 million for health assistance is helping the government prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, and more. This assistance builds upon U.S. Government investment in Laos over time, including more than $348 million over the past decade, of which nearly $92 million was health assistance.
  • Malaysia: $1.2 million total includes $1 million in health assistance that will fund the prevention and control of infections in health facilities, community engagement, disease-surveillance and contact-tracing systems, bolster risk-communications, and more in response to COVID-19. It also includes $200,000 in MRA humanitarian assistance to support COVID-19 response efforts for refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia. This assistance builds upon a foundation of decades of U.S. investment in Malaysia, totaling more than $288 million over the past 20 years, including more than $3.6 million for health.
  • Maldives: $2 million in ESF will support the expansion of social-protection services led by local civil-society organizations (CSOs) and assist them to advocate effectively for COVID recovery policies. Funding will provide technical assistance to the government to develop effective economic, fiscal, monetary measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. investments in Maldives include more than $30 million in total assistance since 2004.
  • Mongolia: Nearly $1.2 million for health assistance is helping the Mongolian Government prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, and support technical experts for response and preparedness, and more. The United States has invested more than $1 billion in total assistance for Mongolia over the past 20 years, including nearly $106 million for health.
  • Nepal: $7.3 million in total assistance includes $2.5 million in ESF to support local governments and disaster-management committees to respond to the economic and social impacts of COVID-19, and will provide small grants to the private sector and CSOs to enable economic recovery, mitigate food insecurity, and address the needs of vulnerable populations.  It also includes $4.8 million for health assistance that is helping the Nepalese Government to conduct community-level risk-communications, prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, and more.  Over the past 20 years, U.S. Government investment in Nepal totals more than $2 billion, including more than $603 million for health.
  • Pacific Islands: Nearly $12.2 million total in assistance includes $5 million in ESF to strengthen the capacity of CSOs to combat disinformation and hate speech and to protect the rights of vulnerable and marginalized groups.  Small grants also will be available at the community and national levels to increase their resilience and ability to respond to the economic impacts of COVID-19.  This total also includes $4.7 million for health assistance, which is helping governments prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness; and $2.5 million in IDA humanitarian assistance to support risk-communications, the prevention and control of infectious diseases in health facilities, logistics, coordination efforts, and more.  Over the last 20 years, the United States has invested over $5.21 billion in assistance to the Pacific Islands. Over the last decade, the United States has invested more than $620 million for health for the Pacific Islands.
  • Papua New Guinea (PNG): $3.55 million for health assistance is helping the Government of PNG prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, and support technical experts for response and preparedness, risk-communications, the prevention and control of infectious diseases in health facilities, and more. The United States has invested over $108 million total in Papua New Guinea over the past 20 years, including more than $52 million for health.
  • Pakistan: Nearly $18 million in total new assistance for Pakistan’s response to COVID-19 includes a $5 million contribution by USAID to the agreement between the Department of International Development of the United Kingdom with the Government of Pakistan to support its emergency cash-assistance program.  USAID’s contribution will support about 66,000 vulnerable families affected by COVID-19; $10 million in health assistance to strengthen monitoring and better prepare communities to identify potential outbreaks, including funding for the training of healthcare providers and other urgent needs; and nearly $2.9 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to help vulnerable people in Pakistan.  U.S. long-term investment in Pakistan over the past 20 years includes more than $18.4 billion in total assistance, which includes nearly $1.2 billion for health alone.
  • The Philippines: More than $15 million in total COVID-19 assistance includes $5 million in ESF to provide grants and skills training to heavily affected sectors and communities; facilitate access to credit for micro and small enterprises; and support the efforts of the national government to improve crisis-management and procurement and promote a regulatory environment that enhances the resilience of communities and businesses;.  In addition, about $6.5 million in health assistance and $2.8 million in IDA humanitarian assistance will help upgrade laboratories and specimen-transport systems, intensify case-finding and event-based surveillance; improve community-level preparedness and response; and support Filipino and international technical experts in risk-communications, the prevention and control of infectious diseases in health facilities, the promotion of handwashing and hygiene, and more.  Finally, $875,000 in MRA humanitarian assistance will support vulnerable people during the pandemic. The United States has invested more than $4.5 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years, which includes $582 million in the Philippines’ health assistance.
  • Sri Lanka: More than $5.8 million in total assistance includes $2 million in ESF to increase social services for areas and populations most affected by the COVID-19 crisis, address the specific threats to social cohesion, and mitigate negative economic impacts; $2 million in additional ESF for strengthening small and medium-sized enterprises and increasing women’s economic participation; and $1.3 million in health assistance to help the Sri Lankan Government prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, conduct risk-communications, prevent and control infectious diseases in health facilities, and more.  Finally, $590,000 in MRA humanitarian assistance will support vulnerable people during the pandemic. Over the past 20 years, U.S. assistance in Sri Lanka has totaled more than $1 billion, which includes $26 million for health.
  • Tajikistan: Approximately $866,000 for health assistance is helping prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk-communications, and more. This support builds on more than $1 billion in total U.S. assistance over the past 20 years, which includes nearly $125 million for health.
  • Thailand: More than $6.5 million for health assistance will help the Thai Government prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, promote risk-communications, prevent and control infectious diseases in health facilities, and more.  $730,000 in MRA humanitarian assistance will support surveillance and response capacity in all nine camps on the Thailand-Burma border hosting refugees from Burma. This new assistance builds upon long-term U.S. Government investments in Thailand of more than $1 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years, which includes nearly $214 million for health.
  • Timor-Leste: Almost $1.1 million for health assistance is helping the Government of Timor-Leste prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk-communications, and more.  The United States has invested more than $542 million in total assistance for Timor-Leste since independence in 2002, including nearly $70 million for health.
  • Turkmenistan: Approximately $920,000 for health support has been made available to help prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk communication, and more. Over the past 20 years, the United States has collaborated closely with the Government of Turkmenistan and local partners to implement bilateral and regional programs totaling more than $207 million, including over $21 million in the health sector.
  • Uzbekistan: Approximately $3.9 million in health funding is helping prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk-communications, and more. This COVID-19 response assistance builds on more than $1 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years, including more than $122 million in the health sector alone.
  • Vietnam: Nearly $9.5 million in total assistance for response to COVID-19 includes $5 million in ESF, which will bring much-needed resources to bear immediately, including to support private-sector recovery by enhancing access to finance for businesses; improve firms’ capacity during an expected surge in demand; and working with the Government of Vietnam to bolster its relief interventions.  It also includes $4.5 million in health assistance to help the Government prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for preparedness and response, conduct community education and engagement, prevent infections in health-care settings, public health screening at points of entry, and more. Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested more than $1.8 billion in total assistance for Vietnam, including more than $706 million for health.
  • Regional Efforts in Asia: $2 million in ESF will provide essential services to vulnerable migrants in Central Asia stranded across the region as a result of border closures and ensure their safe return home in accordance with their own wishes and the help of NGOs and national governments.  Additionally, $800,000 in health assistance is helping governments and NGOs across the region prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, promote risk-communications, prevent and control infectious diseases in health facilities, and more. Furthermore, nearly $2.8 million in MRA humanitarian assistance will support vulnerable people in Southeast Asia and $425,000 in MRA humanitarian assistance will help vulnerable people in Central Asia during the pandemic. In addition to historic bilateral support to individual countries in the region, the United States has provided more than $226 million for health assistance regionally, and in total more than $3 billion in development and other assistance provided regionally over the last 20 years.

Europe and Eurasia:

  • Albania: More than $2 million for health assistance is helping prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk-communications, and more. Over the last 20 years, the United States has invested more than $693 million in total assistance to Albania, including more than $51.8 million for health.
  • Armenia: $2.7 million for health assistance is helping prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk-communications, and more. The United States has invested more than $1.57 billion in total assistance to Armenia over the past 20 years, including nearly $106 million for health.
  • Azerbaijan: Nearly $3.6 million in total assistance includes $3 million in health assistance which is helping prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk-communications, and more. It also includes $565,000 in MRA humanitarian assistance that will help vulnerable people and host communities during the pandemic. Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested more than $894 million in total assistance to Azerbaijan, including nearly $41 million for health.
  • Belarus: $1.7 million for health funding is helping prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk-communications, and more. This new assistance comes on top of decades of U.S. investment in Belarus, totaling more than $301 million over the past 20 years, including nearly $1.5 million for health.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: $2.2 million for health assistance is helping prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk-communications, and more. The United States has invested more than $1.1 billion in total assistance for Bosnia and Herzegovina over the past 20 years, including $200,000 for health.
  • Bulgaria: $500,000 in health assistance to address the outbreak. This new assistance builds on longstanding U.S. assistance for Bulgaria, which totals more than $558 million in total assistance over the past 20 years, including more than $6 million for health.
  • Georgia: $2.7 million for health funding is helping prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk communication, and more. The United States has provided more than $3.6 billion in total U.S. assistance over the past 20 years, including nearly $139 million for health.
  • Greece: Nearly $2.9 million in MRA humanitarian assistance will support COVID-19 response efforts for migrants and refugees in Greece. This new assistance builds upon a foundation of U.S. support for Greece, which totals more than $202 million in total investments over the last 20 years, including nearly $1.8 million for health.
  • Italy: U.S. support includes $50 million in economic assistance implemented by USAID to bolster Italy’s response to COVID-19. USAID is expanding and supplementing the work of international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and faith-based groups responding to the pandemic in Italy and mitigating its community impact. USAID is also working with the Italian government to purchase health commodities and working to support Italian companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Kosovo: Nearly $1.6 million in health assistance is helping prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk communication, and more. This assistance to combat COVID-19 is in addition to long-term U.S. investments, which total over $772 million in total assistance in Kosovo over the past 20 years, including more than $10 million for health.
  • Moldova: Nearly $2.2 million for health assistance is helping prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk communication, and more. This COVID-19 assistance builds upon U.S. investments of more than $1 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years, including nearly $42 million for health.
  • Montenegro: $300,000 in health assistance to address the outbreak. This new assistance joins long-term U.S. investment in Montenegro totaling more than $332 million, including more than $1 million for health.
  • North Macedonia: $1.5 million for health assistance is helping prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk communication, and more. Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested more than $738 million in total assistance for North Macedonia, including nearly $11.5 million for health.
  • Romania: $800,000 in health assistance to address the outbreak. In addition, the U.S. Government fully funded an operation by the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) to transport personal protective equipment (PPE) from South Korea to Romania. The United States has invested in Romania for decades, totaling nearly $700 million in total U.S. assistance in the last 20 years, including more than $55 million for health.
  • Serbia: More than $2 million for health assistance is helping: expand testing, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance; deploy additional technical expertise for response and preparedness; bolster risk communication and community engagement; and improve hygiene practices in the home. The United States has invested more than $1 billion in total assistance to Serbia over the past 20 years, including nearly $5.4 million for health.
  • Turkey: Nearly $5.7 million in MRA humanitarian assistance will support COVID-19 response efforts for refugees and host communities in Turkey. This new funding is in addition to the $18 million for Syrian refugee assistance inside Turkey announced March 3, and builds upon nearly $1.4 billion in total U.S. assistance to Turkey over the past 20 years, including more than $3 million for health assistance, helping lay the foundation for the current response.
  • Ukraine: $15.5 million in total assistance includes $13.1 million in health and IDA humanitarian assistance that will improve the ability of local health care institutions to care for the sick and combat further spread of COVID-19 while increasing public communication to lower contagion risk. These funds will also mitigate secondary impacts such as loss of livelihoods and public services to vulnerable populations, including conflict-affected communities in eastern Ukraine. It also includes $2.4 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to support vulnerable populations during the pandemic. The United States has invested nearly $5 billion in total assistance to Ukraine over the past 20 years, including nearly $362 million for health.
  • Regional Efforts in Europe and Eurasia: $5 million in ESF will empower civil society actors to safeguard democratic institutions and ensure citizens are heard during the pandemic. Funding will also assist civil society organizations to provide citizen oversight over their governments’ efforts to respond to COVID-19.

Latin America and the Caribbean:

  • Argentina: $300,000 in new MRA humanitarian assistance will support COVID-19 response efforts for refugees and host communities. This funding is in addition to U.S. funding for Argentina over the past 20 years, $95.1 million total including nearly $696,000 for health.
  • Bahamas: $750,000 in health assistance will increase risk communication and community engagement, infection prevention and control, surveillance and rapid response, and strengthen case management. This assistance comes in addition to decades of U.S. investment in the Bahamas, including nearly $143.1 million in total assistance over the past 20 years, $264,800 of which was for health.
  • Belize: $300,000 in previously announced health assistance to address the outbreak and improve operational capacity and case-management. This assistance builds upon past U.S. investment in Belize, which totals more than $120 million over the past 20 years, including nearly $12 million for health.
  • Bolivia: Nearly $900,000, including $750,000 in previously announced health assistance to build capacity in COVID-19 diagnostics and improve epidemiological surveillance; and $130,000 in new MRA humanitarian assistance will support COVID-19 response efforts for refugees and host communities. This assistance joins long-term U.S. investment in Bolivia, including nearly $2 billion in total U.S. assistance over the past 20 years, which includes $200 million for health.
  • Brazil: Nearly $3.5 million, including $2 million in new health funding that will provide immediate support to vulnerable communities of the Amazon including risk communication and community engagement, infection prevention and control, water and sanitation activities, and surveillance and rapid response; $500,000 in new MRA humanitarian assistance to support COVID-19 response efforts for refugees and host communities; and $950,000 in previously announced ESF to incentivize private sector investments in mitigating non-health COVID impacts on rural and vulnerable urban populations. This assistance builds upon past U.S. investment in Brazil, which totals more than $617 million over the past 20 years, including nearly $103 million for health.
  • Chile: $20,000 in new MRA humanitarian assistance to support COVID-19 response efforts for refugees and host communities. U.S. assistance to Chile totals $105.9  million over the 20 past years, including $914,000 for health.
  • Colombia: Nearly $13.2 million in assistance for Colombia’s response to COVID-19 includes $8.5 million in previously announced IDA humanitarian assistance that is helping surveil the spread of the virus, provide water and sanitation supplies, manage COVID-19 cases, and more; and nearly $4.7 million in new and previously announced MRA humanitarian assistance, which will support efforts to help vulnerable people during the pandemic, including refugees, internally displaced persons, and host communities. In Colombia, the United States has invested nearly $12 billion in total assistance over the past 20 years, which includes approximately $32.5 million in health assistance.
  • Costa Rica: Nearly $900,000 in total response to COVID-19 funding includes $800,000 in new health assistance and $80,000 in new MRA humanitarian assistance to support COVID-19 response efforts for refugees, vulnerable migrants, and host communities. U.S. funding in support of Costa Rica over the past 20 years totals $207 million, including $19.2 million in health assistance.
  • Dominican Republic: Nearly $3.7 million in total response to COVID-19 funding includes $275,000 in MRA humanitarian assistance to support the COVID-19 response for refugees, vulnerable migrants, and host communities. This funding is in addition to $1.4 million in previously announced health assistance to address the outbreak, which is supporting epidemiological analysis and forecasting, contact-tracing, as well as pandemic surveillance; and $2 million in new ESF to address critical needs in the areas of social protection, psychosocial support, education, water and sanitation, and food security in vulnerable communities. . The United States has invested in the Dominican Republic’s long-term health and development through more than $1 billion in total U.S. assistance over the past 20 years, which includes nearly $298 million for health.
  • Ecuador: More than $8.5 million in total response to COVID-19 funding includes  $540,000 in new MRA humanitarian assistance to support the COVID-19 response effort for refugees and host communities. This assistance is in addition to the previously announced $2 million for health assistance that will increase testing capacity, implement risk communications and infection prevention activities, and strengthen clinical management; and $6 million in IDA humanitarian assistance that will provide support to transportation and logistics, as well as risk communication and community outreach efforts. Over the last 20 years, the United States’ long-term commitment to Ecuador includes more than $1 billion in total assistance, of which nearly $36 million for health assistance – helping Ecuador respond to other major public health challenges such as Zika and Malaria.
  • El Salvador: Nearly $4.6 million in total response to COVID-19 funding includes $2 million in previously announced ESF to address second-order COVID-related impacts in El Salvador through job creation and increased access to credit, both critical factors in driving illegal immigration to the United States, and nearly $2.6 million for health assistance to address the outbreak. Support will include infection prevention, control, and case-management. Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested in El Salvador’s health and long-term development through more than $2.6 billion in total assistance, which includes $111 million for health.
  • Guatemala: More than $2.4 million in previously announced health assistance for Guatemala will strengthen the health institutions to respond to COVID-19 in the areas of infection prevention and control, surveillance, risk communication, and clinical case-management. U.S. long-term investment in Guatemala’s health and development includes more than $2.6 billion in total U.S. assistance over the past 20 years, which includes $564 million for health.
  • Guyana: $350,000 in new MRA humanitarian assistance to support the COVID-19 response effort for refugees and host communities. This assistance comes in addition to the regional COVID-19 response efforts in the Caribbean. Regionally, US assistance totaled $840 million total over the past 20 years, which includes $236 million for health.
  • Haiti: $13.2 million in previously announced health and IDA humanitarian assistance for Haiti will support risk communication efforts, improve water and sanitation, prevent infections in health facilities, manage COVID-19 cases, strengthen laboratories, and more. The United States has invested nearly $6.7 billion in total assistance, including more than $1.8 billion for health in Haiti over the past 20 years.
  • Honduras: More than $2.4 million for health assistance for Honduras will help the Government respond to the epidemic through focused support in the areas of lab strengthening, improved disease surveillance, and clinical management of COVID-19 cases. Some of these funds will also target infection control in migrant-receiving communities. The United States has also invested nearly $1.9 billion in total assistance, which includes $178 million for health, for Honduras over the past 20 years.
  • Jamaica: $1 million in total health funding includes $300,000 in new funds supporting coordination, infection prevention, control, and management, risk communication efforts, and surveillance. This assistance builds upon U.S. investments of nearly $619 million total over the past 20 years, including nearly $87 million for health.
  • Mexico: More than $1.8 million in MRA humanitarian funding will support COVID-19 response efforts for refugees, asylum seekers, vulnerable migrants, and host communities in Mexico. U.S. long-term investment in Mexico has helped build the foundation for Mexico’s COVID-19 response – this adds up to nearly $4.8 billion in total U.S. assistance over the past 20 years, including more than $61 million for health.
  • Nicaragua: $750,000 in health assistance will provide training on infection prevention and control, pandemic management, and support for targeted communication and community engagement activities and community case management for the most at-risk populations for COVID-19.
  • Panama: $825,000 in total response, including $750,000 in previously announced health assistance to optimize health system capacity to care for COVID-19 patients; and $75,000 in MRA humanitarian assistance to support the COVID-19 response for refugees, vulnerable migrants, and host communities. The United States has a history of investing in Panama’s health and long-term development with more than $425 million in total U.S. assistance over the past 20 years, including more than $33.5 million for health.
  • Paraguay: Nearly $1.4 million in total response, including $1.3 million in previously announced health assistance to support risk communication efforts, infection control and prevention, clinical case-management, laboratory capacity strengthening, and surveillance; and $95,000 in MRA humanitarian assistance to support the COVID-19 response for refugees and host communities. U.S. investment in Paraguay is long-term and totals more than $456 million total over the past 20 years, including more than $42 million for health.
  • Peru: Nearly $6 million in total response to COVID-19 funding includes $415,000 in new MRA humanitarian assistance to support the COVID-19 response for refugees and host communities; $3 million in previously announced ESF for addressing the economic impacts of COVID-19 and preventing backsliding on shared, top-level development and security issues, including the fight against the drug trade; and $2.5 million in previously announced health assistance to provide technical assistance and training in surveillance, infection prevention and control, risk communication, and community engagement. The United States’ strong history of investing in Peru’s health and long-term development has laid the foundation for Peru’s response, with more than $3.5 billion in total U.S. assistance over the last 20 years, including nearly $265 million for health.
  • Trinidad and Tobago: $250,000 in new MRA humanitarian assistance to support the COVID-19 response for refugees and host communities. This assistance comes in addition to the regional COVID-19 efforts in the Caribbean, and historic assistance. Regionally, U.S. assistance totaled $840 million total over the past 20 years, which includes $236 million for health.
  • Uruguay: $600,000 in total response to COVID-19 funding includes $500,000 in new health assistance for facilitating risk communication and community engagement, providing hygiene and medical supplies for health care facilities, and mitigating the secondary effects of the outbreak by continuing access to social-protection programs, and $100,000 in new MRA humanitarian assistance to support the COVID-19 response for migrants, refugees, and host communities. This assistance comes in addition to the more than $22 million in U.S. assistance provided to Uruguay over the past 20 years.
  • Venezuela: More than $12.3 million previously announced total humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people is helping surveil the spread of the virus, provide water and sanitation supplies, manage COVID-19 cases, and more. In Venezuela, the U.S. has invested more than $278 million in total long-term assistance over the past 20 years, including more than $1.3 million in direct health assistance. In the last year, the U.S. provided additional lifesaving humanitarian assistance and development programming inside Venezuela that are not captured in COVID-19 response amounts.
  • Regional Efforts in Central America: Nearly $850,000 in previously announced MRA humanitarian assistance will support regional efforts to respond to the Central America migration crisis to help vulnerable people in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras during the pandemic.
  • Regional Efforts in the Caribbean: $2.2 million in total health funding, including $500,000 in new funding to help 10 Caribbean countries (Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago) scale up their risk communication efforts, provide water and sanitation, prevent and control infectious diseases in health facilities, manage COVID-19 cases, build laboratory capacity, and conduct surveillance. This builds upon decades of strategic U.S. investment in the region, including more than $840 million total over the past 20 years, which includes $236 million for health.

Middle East and North Africa:

  • Algeria: $2 million in health assistance to support Algeria’s response to COVID-19 and mitigate its impact on Algerian society by strengthening risk communication and community engagement approaches under the Government of Algeria Preparedness and Response Plan.
  • Iraq: More than $44 million in COVID-19 assistance for Iraq includes more than $33.1 million for health and IDA humanitarian assistance that is helping prepare laboratories, implement a public-health emergency plan for points of entry, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance for influenza-like illnesses, and more. The funding includes more than $10.8 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to assist vulnerable people during the pandemic, including refugees and host communities. This new assistance builds upon long-term investment in Iraq, which adds up to more than $70 billion in total U.S. assistance in the past 20 years, including nearly $4 billion in the health sector alone.
  • Jordan: More than $8.4 million in assistance includes more than $6.9 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to support response to COVID-19 efforts to help vulnerable people in Jordan, including refugees and host communities, and $1.5 million in health assistance, which will support infection prevention and control to stop the spread of the disease, as well as laboratory strengthening for large-scale testing of COVID-19. The United States also is spearheading donor support to the Government of Jordan, coordinating life-saving assistance and prioritizing investments to respond rapidly now and to plan ahead as the threat evolves. Our investments in the last 20 years alone total more than $18.9 billion in total assistance, including more than $1.8 billion for health.
  • Lebanon: $13.3 million in assistance for Lebanon includes $5.3 million in IDA humanitarian assistance for response to COVID-19 activities targeting vulnerable Lebanese, such as supporting private health facilities to properly triage, manage, and refer patients; ensure continuity of essential health services; carry out risk communication and community outreach activities, and increase access to water, sanitation, and hygiene. $8 million in MRA humanitarian assistance will support COVID-19 response efforts to help refugees and host communities in Lebanon. This assistance builds upon the nearly $4.9 billion in bilateral assistance, including more than $187 million for health assistance, that the U.S. has provided for Lebanon in the last 20 years. In addition to the bilateral funding, the U.S. has provided more than $2.3 billion in humanitarian assistance to respond to the Syria crisis in Lebanon.
  • Libya: $12.4 million in response to COVID-19 includes $3.5 million in ESF to help municipalities to formalize their crisis response functions, develop emergency management plans, and train teams in Crisis Emergency Response. In addition, assistance will expand key public awareness, education, and guidance messages during the COVID-19 crisis. It also includes $6 million in IDA humanitarian assistance being provided for Libya to support risk communication, improve case-management, bolster coordination for an effective COVID-19 response, and strengthen infection prevention and control; and nearly $3 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to help vulnerable people during the pandemic, including refugees, vulnerable migrants, and host communities.
  • Morocco: Nearly $7.7 million in total response to COVID-19 funding includes $4 million in ESF to support socio-economic recovery among marginalized and vulnerable populations in urban and rural populations through a cash relief program; and $3.7 million for health assistance that is helping prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk communication, and more. This assistance builds upon long-term U.S. investments in Morocco adding up to more than $2.6 billion in total assistance over the last 20 years, including $64.5 million for health.
  • Syria: More than $31 million in humanitarian assistance for the response to COVID-19 in Syria supports risk communication, disease surveillance, water, sanitation and hygiene programs, infection prevention and control. This assistance joins decades of U.S. investments for the Syrian people, including more than $10 billion in humanitarian assistance for people in need inside Syria, Syrian refugees, and host communities since the beginning of the conflict. A number of U.S. sanctions exemptions and authorizations apply with respect to the provision of humanitarian assistance, including medicines and medical supplies, throughout Syria.
  • Tunisia: $600,000 for health assistance will help prepare laboratory systems, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, support technical experts for response and preparedness, bolster risk communication, and more. The United States has invested more than $1.3 billion in total U.S. assistance for Tunisia over the past 20 years, including more than $7 million for health.
  • West Bank/Gaza: $5 million in IDA humanitarian assistance is helping provide immediate, life-saving assistance in the West Bank.
  • Yemen: More than $2.5 million in humanitarian assistance will support COVID-19 response efforts to help refugees, vulnerable migrants, internally displaced persons, and host communities. In the past 20 years, the United States has provided nearly $4 billion in total assistance for Yemen’s long-term development, including nearly $132 million for health.
  • Regional Efforts in the Middle East: $3 million in MRA humanitarian assistance to help vulnerable people during the pandemic.

Global:

  • Approximately $92.1 million in global and regional health and humanitarian programming is being provided worldwide through international organizations and NGOs, including for programs that support supply-chain management, new partnerships, monitoring and evaluation, and more.
  • $23 million to procure ventilators for key partners and Allies around the globe, fulfilling President Trump’s generous promises.
  • Nearly $9.8 million in MRA humanitarian assistance for the global response to COVID-19 to address the challenges posed by the pandemic in refugee, vulnerable migrant, internally displaced persons, and host communities.
  • $5 million in ESF for USAID’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) will support civil society organizations (CSOs) to promote citizen-centered governance; respect for press and civic freedoms by monitoring legal protections for journalists and CSOs; provide legal assistance where COVID-related emergency laws have been used to restrict rights; ensure public health responses are non-discriminatory and counter efforts to blame or stigmatize marginalized groups related to COVID-19; promote media integrity and communicating responsible information on COVID-19; counter misinformation and disinformation; ensure the financial sustainability of independent media outlets. and provide support to human rights defenders to carry out their important work.
  • Nearly $4.3 million in ESF for USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Education, and Environment (E3) to expand trade and access to education. With approximately $750,000 USAID will provide technical assistance and surge capacity to partner governments and USAID Missions on education responses to COVID-19, create a Global Working Group on Distance Learning in Crisis, and launch a Virtual Center of Excellence for Education Distance Learning for developing countries. With $3.5 million USAID will support a global public-private partnership to support partner governments to reduce trade barriers on medical devices and testing kits/instruments, and improve governments’ adherence to international standards for medical equipment.
  • $8 million in ESF for USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security (RFS) will support a multi-partner effort to mitigate pandemic-related shocks to the global food and agriculture system. Some policy responses in emerging economies to the pandemic are already negatively impacting local food systems, and food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition are growing concerns. USAID will produce data and analysis to help countries implement forward-looking policies; help small and medium-sized food and agriculture businesses shift business models and withstand the most severe impacts; and rapidly disseminate information in emerging economies about how consumers can safely participate in food and agriculture activities and markets amid COVID-19. The partnership includes collaborating with finance sector partners to unlock financing for small and medium-sized food and agribusinesses.
  • $2 million in ESF is planned for the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Women’s Issues (S/GWI) to ensure survivors of gender-based violence (have access to emergency assistant

*Fact Sheet provided by State Department.Mohammed M. Mupenda is a news correspondent and freelance reporter, who has written for publications in the United States and abroad. He is also a French and East African language interpreter.

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Commonwealth health ministers agree to share advice and solutions in coronavirus battle
May 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

Commonwealth health ministers have agreed to coordinate their response in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Ministers endorsed removing fees for coronavirus tests and treatment, especially for migrants and refugees, as appropriate within national contexts, and creating a voluntary mechanism to share and distribute extra medical supplies including ventilators and testing kits.

They agreed on the need for solidarity and cooperation among Commonwealth countries and that close working with the World Health Organization throughout the crisis was vital.

This statement was released following the annual Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting held on 14 May.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “We are now participants at an inflection point in history, and how we will be seen will be determined by how we act, right now, in this moment.  

“The virus knows no nationality, race, religion, border or economic status. It is an interconnected issue threatening our global health and world economic order, and should be dealt with as such – guided by a culture of multilateral compassion and cooperation – not competition.

“At this critical moment, invigorated by our common pain and concern, Commonwealth countries have come together to provide the salve we need to deliver a coordinated multilateral response that will help thwart the pandemic and keep our citizens safe.”

Globally, around 4.7 million coronavirus cases have been reported. Half a million of these are in the Commonwealth. Seven member states are among 12 nations worldwide that have not reported any cases.

The fast-spreading virus has contracted economies, shattered income streams and forced millions of people to stay indoors.

Health ministers backed the need for unified action to recover from the economic turmoil accompanying the pandemic, while addressing critical health challenges and health systems’ vulnerability, particularly to recurring climate-related events.

The World Health Organization’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “While coronavirus is an unprecedented shock to the world; through national unity and global solidarity, we can save both lives and livelihoods.

“Across the Commonwealth, countries will need to balance the demands of responding directly to coronavirus, while also maintaining essential health services.”

Ministers pledged to keep essential health services running for non-COVID-19 patients with a critical non-communicable or infectious disease while dealing with an influx of coronavirus cases.

They agreed to work with finance ministers to promote sustainable strategies to finance the implementation of universal health coverage with a focus on providing health care to women, the elderly, young people, marginalised persons and those with mental illness without facing financial difficulty.

The Gambia’s health minister Ahmadou Lamin Samateh chaired the meeting.

He said: “Not since the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 2000s has health occupied such a central position in development policy.

“With an unprecedented pandemic, straining health systems and halting the global economy, the role of resilient health systems across the world has come into full focus.”

During the meeting, ministers presented effective national strategies to address the pandemic, which included a mass test, trace and isolate strategy, digital tools to monitor health status and track transmission routes and a clear communication line.

India is in line to chair the next Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting in 2021.

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Africa50 donates US$800,000, joins African Countries to help fight COVID-19
May 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

We stand in complete solidarity with all African nations and all our stakeholders around the world during these uncertain times, says Mr. Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50
Given the likely long-term effects of the pandemic, Africa50’s COVID-19 Relief Support Initiative will have three phases

Announces a grant of US$300,000 to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) for the purchase of test kits and other medical equipment and to mobilize frontline responders; provides US$500,000 to fund other targeted infection control and prevention activities in several African countries.

Africa50 , the pan-African infrastructure investment platform, has announced its COVID-19 Relief Support Initiative, which aims to support the continent’s fight against the pandemic. Under this initiative, Africa50 is providing US$800,000 to help contain the spread of the virus and minimize its impact. Given the likely long-term effects of the pandemic, Africa50’s COVID-19 Relief Support Initiative will have three phases, as follows:

The first phase focuses on helping countries deal with immediate public health needs through in-kind and cash donations. It comprises a US$300,000 grant to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), which will be used specifically for the purchase of test kits and other medical equipment and to mobilize frontline responders, as highlighted in the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 led by the African Union, through Africa CDC.

In addition, Africa50 is donating US$500,000 to fund other targeted infection control and prevention activities in several African countries.
The second phase will focus on technology-enabled solutions that help address the unprecedented demand for digital health innovations, which was triggered by the pandemic. To that effect, Africa50 will support the deployment of digital solutions, as part of its Innovation Challenge, an initiative launched in 2019 to increase internet connectivity access in under-served areas in Africa.

The third phase will concentrate on medium to longer term solutions to support economic recovery and stabilization, including the implementation of major infrastructure projects.

On the occasion of this announcement, Mr. Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50, said “We stand in complete solidarity with all African nations and all our stakeholders around the world during these uncertain times. Beyond the tragic loss of human lives, the pandemic is projected to result in a decline in Africa’s GDP growth between 3 and 8 percent.”

He underlined Africa’s vulnerability to this new, rapidly evolving environment and stressed the need for diligent, impactful responses and continental cooperation. “Governments, the private sector, development institutions, and civil society have acted quickly, both to limit the spread of the virus and to prop up economies. Africa50 will play its part.”, he said.

“If we work together, we can limit the damage of the pandemic. This crisis underlines once again the urgency of improving the continent’s infrastructure to ensure that people can enjoy productive, happy, and healthy lives. We must therefore also continue to develop our project pipeline and evaluate new ones, as we prepare to support the continent’s recovery”, he added.

Africa50 is an infrastructure investment platform that contributes to Africa’s growth by developing and investing in bankable projects, catalyzing public sector capital, and mobilizing private sector funding, with differentiated financial returns and impact. Africa50’s investor base is currently composed of 28 African countries, the African Development Bank, the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), and Bank Al-Maghrib.

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International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation extends US$100m COVID-19 Emergency Financing for purchasing wheat and sugar in favor of Egypt
May 4, 2020 | 0 Comments
Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC CEO
ITFC intervention to help finance essential strategic food commodities in light of the impact of COVID-19

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) (www.ITFC-IDB.org), has signed a US$100 million financing agreement with the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) to cover the Egyptian Government’s essential strategic commodity needs during the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Approval of the financing, which forms part of the ITFC’s Master Murabaha Agreement, enables Egypt’s General Authority for Supply Commodities to mitigate the very worst human impacts of the coronavirus pandemic by securing food commodity imports.

From his side, H.E Dr. Ali Al-Mesilhi, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, affirmed that the Ministry of Supply represented by the General Authority for Supply Commodities appreciates and thanks the International Islamic Corporation for Trade Finance for the cooperation and continuous support, whether this year or previous years, that is demonstrated by the immediate response. Through this agreement, Egypt will meet the necessary and urgent needs in such exceptional circumstances that the Republic and the world as a whole are going through.

Commenting on the ITFC’s approval for the financing, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC CEO, said: “The financing that has been approved by the ITFC is specifically targeted at supporting the importation of critical basic commodities such as wheat and sugar, which are two staples that the mass population of Egypt depends upon. ITFC is absolutely committed to doing what it can to assist in achieving food security in Egypt during a time when national economies are struggling with the economic impact of this terrible new disease.” The amount will be used to purchase 240 thousand tonnes of wheat & 100 thousand tonnes of sugar.

The wheat policy is of strategic importance to the Egyptian Government to ensure food security for all Egyptians. Since 2018, ITFC has been supporting the Governments’ efforts through a trade finance facility benefiting the GASC, Egypt’s largest wheat purchaser. ITFC extended US$ 393 million which was utilized in 2019 for the import of 1.3 million tonnes of wheat and 130 thousand tonnes of rice.

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) (www.ITFC-IDB.org) is a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group. It was established with the primary objective of advancing trade among OIC Member Countries, which would ultimately contribute to the overarching goal of improving socioeconomic conditions of the people across the world.  Since 2008, ITFC has provided more than US$51 billion to OIC Member Countries, making it the leading provider of trade solutions for the Member Countries’ needs. With a mission to become a catalyst for trade development for OIC Member Countries and beyond, the Corporation helps entities in Member Countries gain better access to trade finance and provides them with the necessary trade-related capacity building tools, which would enable them to successfully compete in the global market.
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Zambia on track to energy surplus following major boost in electricity production
May 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

Zambia’s constant power cuts are now a thing of the past. Thanks to a robust hydraulic and solar power generation industry in recent years, the country is now self-sufficient in energy.  And, there is even better news for citizens of the South African nation- electricity production could soon be in surplus.

Zambia generates practically all its energy production from its own primary resources: biomass, coal and hydroelectricity, with flagship plants such as the power station near the Itezhi-Tezhi Dam, in the south-east of the country, taking centre stage.

The $375 million Itezhi-Tezhi hydroelectric generating station became operational in 2016. The plant has a 120-megawatt capacity and is the fruit of the first public-private partnership project in the Zambian energy sector. Its primary objective has been to produce enough power to end the crippling daily blackouts and meet consumer needs of the country’s 17 million inhabitants.

Zambia stopped electricity imports in early 2018

Itezhi-Tezhi power plant has already increased the country’s power generation capacity by 7.5% and supplied an extra 50,000 people with electricity. In the first quarter of 2018, and for the first time in its history, Zambia stopped importing electricity from neighbouring countries such as Mozambique.

As far back as September 2017, national operator Zesco’s head of power transmission, Webster Musonda, told Ecofin agency: “Zambia’s power generation capacity has improved and will now be able to largely meet its energy needs.” “Overall, we will be able to meet demand and routine energy imports will cease […] but we will continue to import energy to meet occasional peaks in demand.”

The next step for the Government of Zambia includes plans for an energy surplus over the next two years. To meet this goal, it is exploring renewable energy, such as solar power.

The country’s new hydropower stations at the Musonda, Lusawaki and Kafue Gorge dams are important developments and in September 2018 the government inaugurated a 50 MW power plant at a cost of $60 million. An even more ambitious programme is under way, involving the construction of mini solar plants with an eventual overall capacity of 600 MW at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.

The African Development Bank which is championing its High 5 development priorities, such as the “Light up and power Africa, initiative under which this project falls, contributed $55 million to the Itezhi-Tezhi plant.  Additional funding has been provided by international donors including the Netherlands Development Finance Company, the Development Bank of South Africa and Proparco France.

The Bank’s portfolio in Zambia currently includes 23 ongoing projects, amounting to an investment of one billion dollars, in three main sectors: transport, water and sanitation and agriculture.

Cross-border collaboration

A strong partnership with Zimbabwe has been the key to Zambia’s success. The two southern African neighbours are working on a major energy project on the Zambezi River, which marks their common border. The 2750 km long river is the fourth-largest on the continent.

The project, which has a projected output of at least 2400 MW, is to be built upstream of the Kariba dam, close to the famous Victoria Falls, at a cost of $3 billion.

Electricity output will be shared equally between Zambia and Zimbabwe, with excess production sold on to other member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SACD), according to the project’s initiators.

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EU’s €15.6 billion COVID-19 Global Response Package: Africa to Get sum of €4.6 billion
April 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is bid farewell by Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde after their meeting in Addis Ababa on December 7, 2019. – (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS / AFP) (Photo by EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images)

The Delegation of the European Union (EU) to the Republic of The Gambia has relayed a media release containing the European body’s global response to the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, outlining financial assistance for partners countries, including those of Africa.

According to the release, the EU is readying a package of €15.6 billion to assist partner countries’ efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic and mitigate the socioeconomic impact.
Below is the full release

The European Commission and the High Representative set out plans for a robust and targeted EU response to support partner countries’ efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

The EU’s collective action will focus on addressing the immediate health crisis and resulting humanitarian needs, strengthening partner countries’ health, water and sanitation systems and their research and preparedness capacities to deal with the pandemic, as well as mitigating the socioeconomic impact. To underpin these actions, the EU will secure financial support to partner countries amounting to more than €15.6 billion from existing external action resources. Together with our partners, we are making sure that the substantial EU funding already allocated to them is targeted to help them deal with the impact of coronavirus.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, commented: “The virus knows no borders. This global challenge needs strong international cooperation. The European Union is working tirelessly to fight the pandemic. We all know that only together we can stop the worldwide spread of the coronavirus. To that end, the EU will soon convene a virtual pledging event to help mobilise the necessary funding and support the World Health Organisation to assist the most vulnerable countries.”

High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell, added: “The coronavirus pandemic requires united, global action in response. The European Union and its Member States are playing their part in tackling this health crisis and its severe consequences – at home and abroad. While we are doing everything we can to provide support of our citizens, we also need to assist our partners in our direct neighbourhood and beyond to address the impact it will have on their livelihoods, stability and security, as their problems are our problems. This is a global fight that we will either win or lose together. Cooperation and joint efforts at the international level and multilateral solutions are the way forward, for a true global agenda for the future.”

Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, explained: ”As long as the coronavirus threatens lives somewhere, we are not safe. This is the core of international cooperation and partnerships. We need to work together in order to tackle our shared challenges. Today the European Commission steps up and leads with this significant global response package of more than €15.6 billion the joint work with our partners, particularly in Africa, for a safer future for us all.”

Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner, Olivér Várhelyi, said: “As part of our global response to the coronavirus pandemic we are redirecting over €3.8 billion of foreseen funds for the Western Balkans and our immediate neighbours to the East and to the South, to where their real needs are today: for urgent response to the health crisis, to strengthen the health systems and to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. We share a continent and we can only succeed together.”

Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, warned: “We are facing what could become the biggest humanitarian crisis in decades. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the most fragile countries, migrants and the most vulnerable people is likely to be dramatic. This is particularly the case in the confined and often insalubrious setting of refugee and internally displaced people camps. That is why we need to respond vigorously to the public health emergency, make sure humanitarian actors continue to have access to carry out their life-saving assistance and support transport and logistic for key humanitarian operations.”

Team Europe package
The EU’s response follows a ‘Team Europe’ approach, aimed at saving lives by providing quick and targeted support to our partners to face this pandemic. It combines resources from the EU, its Member States and financial institutions, in particular the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, to support partner countries and address their short-term needs, as well as the longer-term structural impacts on societies and the economy.

The first Team Europe packages are already being implemented in the immediate neighbourhood: the Western Balkans, in the East and to the South.

The EU, as global actor and major contributor to the international aid system, will promote a coordinated multilateral response, in partnership with the United Nations, International Financial Institutions, as well as the G7 and the G20.

The European Union will continue to adapt its response to the evolving situation and focus on the most affected countries in need of health support, such as countries in Africa, the Neighbourhood, the Western Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa, parts of Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean.

The EU’s response will focus on the most vulnerable people, including migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons and their host communities and integrate its strategic objectives set out in the Green Deal and the Digital Agenda.

From the overall package of €15.6 billion, €3.25 billion are channelled to Africa, including €1.19 billion for the Northern African neighbourhood countries.

The EU is securing in total €3.07 billion for the whole neighbourhood – €2.1 billion for the South and €962 million for the Eastern Partner countries – and €800 million for the Western Balkans and Turkey.

In addition, the overall package includes another €1.42 billion in guarantees for Africa and the neighbourhood from the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD).

The EU will support Asia and the Pacific with €1.22 billion, another €291 million will go for the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific region, €918 million to support our partners in Latin America and the Caribbean and €111 million to support Oversees Countries and Territories.

Delivering the EU global response package in practice
€502 million for Emergency response actions focused amongst others, on:

· Providing immediate support to the Response Plans of the World Health Organisation and the United Nations, as well as to the appeal of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to boost emergency preparedness and response in countries with weaker health systems and those dealing with humanitarian crises;

·Providing immediate humanitarian support in affected countries, in particular in health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and logistics;

· Supporting increased production in Europe of personal protective equipment and medical devices to meet urgent needs in Europe and in partner countries;

·  Organising the supply of in-kind assistance to affected countries through the Union Civil Protection Mechanism;

· Providing guarantee and liquidity provisions to local banks via International Financial Institutions and European Development Finance Institutions, supported by the European Fund for Sustainable Development;

· Supporting global efforts to combat export restrictions and ensure supply chains remain intact, notably for essential medical supplies and pharmaceuticals;

· Associating the Western Balkans to EU initiatives such as the Joint Procurement Agreement for


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Merck foundation together with First Lady of Mozambique announce ‘Stay at Home’ Media Recognition Awards
April 10, 2020 | 0 Comments
Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation with H.E. Dr. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, First Lady of Mozambique
Merck Foundation marks World Health Day together with Mozambique First Lady to raise awareness on Coronavirus

MAPUTO, Mozambique, April 9, 2020/ — Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany together with First Lady of Mozambique, H.E. Dr. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, announced the call for applications for their ‘Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards in Mozambique. The theme of the awards is ‘Raising Awareness on how to Stay Safe and keep Physically and Mentally Healthy during Coronavirus Lockdown’.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation explains, “This is how we mark World Health Day. The ‘Stay at Home’ Media Recognition Award will encourage media to sensitize our communities. Raising awareness about corona virus in our communities will contribute to supporting health workers who are at the forefront of COVID-19 response – providing high quality, respectful treatment and care, it will also enhance their great efforts in leading community dialogue to address fears and questions. Our hearts and thoughts are with them”.

“This unsettling period due to the coronavirus scare is difficult for everyone – both physically and mentally. While most countries are under complete lockdown or restricted movement, people do not know how to handle this situation. Social Distancing is our Social Responsibility and the only way to kill Coronavirus, however, it will take a lot of courage and discipline to practice it. Taking good care of your mental and physical health is important during this period. Therefore, we decided to initiate these awards in order to reward the journalists who are raising awareness in most effective and creative way on how to keep safe and keep physically & mentally healthy during this phase”, added Dr. Rasha Kelej.

The awards are open to all the journalists from Print, Online, Radio and Multimedia Platforms from Mozambique and other Portuguese speaking countries along with English speaking, French speaking and Arabic speaking African countries. The most creative and influential media work aiming to raise awareness and sensitizing communities about this alarming topic at a regular basis will be eligible to win these awards.

Merck Foundation will extend the awards to include Middle Eastern, Latin American and Asian Countries in the next few days to involve all media across the global South. 

“Since most of the people are confined to their homes, they are spending a lot of time reading and listening to news through different platforms. Media professionals, it is your time to help the people to take care good care of their mental & physical health during these disturbing times, through your creative, informational and motivational work. You can guide them to adjust to their new and different routine & rhythm of life”, emphasized Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Details of the Merck Foundation “Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards

Who can Apply:

Journalists from Print, Online, Radio and Multimedia Platforms from Mozambique and other Portuguese speaking; English speaking; French speaking and Arabic speaking African countries

Last date of submission:

Entries can be submitted till 30th June 2020

How to apply?

Entries can be submitted via Email to info@merck-foundation.com
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Merck Foundation joins hands with First Ladies of Africa to raise awareness about Coronavirus and how to stay safe and healthy
April 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation with H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea Conakry; H.E FATIMA MAADA, The First Lady of Sierra Leone; H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA, The First Lady of Malawi; H.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The Gambia; H.E DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The First Lady of Burundi; H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADO, The First Lady of Niger; H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic; H.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of Ghana; H.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of Republic of Liberia; H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo Brazzaville; H.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia; H.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGW, The First Lady of Zimbabwe; H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of Botswana; H.E. DR. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique and Former First Lady of Mauritania
Merck Foundation announces special awards during Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown and movement restriction, “Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards for African Countries to encourage media to be creative and effective in raising awareness and sensitizing Communities on how to stay safe and keep physically and mentally healthy during Coronavirus lockdown

ACCRA, Ghana, April 6, 2020/ — Merck Foundation (www.Merck-Foundation.com), the philanthropic arm of Merck KGaA Germany together with African First Ladies of Ghana, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Namibia, Niger, Guinea Conakry, Burundi, Central African Republic (C.A.R.), Chad, Zimbabwe, Zambia, The Gambia, Liberia and Congo Brazzaville, announced the call for applications for their ‘Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards for African countries. The theme of the awards is ‘Raising Awareness on how to Stay Safe and keep Physically and Mentally Healthy during Coronavirus Lockdown’.

Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation explains, “This unsettling period due to the coronavirus scare is difficult for everyone – both physically and mentally. While most countries are under complete lockdown or restricted movement, people do not know how to handle this situation. Social Distancing is our Social Responsibility and the only way to kill Coronavirus, however, it will take a lot of courage and discipline to practice it. Taking good care of your mental and physical health is important during this period. So, we decided to initiate these awards in order to reward the journalists who are raising awareness in most effective and creative way on how to keep safe and keep physically & mentally healthy during this phase”.

All the journalists from Print, Online, Radio and Multimedia Platforms from English speaking, French speaking, Arabic speaking and Portuguese speaking African countries are invited to send their entries for the awards. The most creative and influential media work aiming to raise awareness and sensitizing communities about this alarming topic at a regular basis will be eligible to win these awards.

“We have created four categories for Africa; English, French, Portuguese and Arabic speaking countries”, Dr Kelej added.

Merck Foundation will extend the awards to include Middle Eastern, Latin American and Asian Countries in the next few days to involve all media across the global South. 

“Since most of the people are confined to their homes, they are spending a lot of time reading and listening to news through different platforms. Media professionals, it is your time to help the people to take care good care of their mental & physical health during these disturbing times, through your creative, informational and motivational work. You can guide them to adjust to their new and different routine & rhythm of life”, emphasized Dr. Rasha Kelej.

Details of the Merck Foundation “Stay at Home” Media Recognition Awards

Who can Apply:

Journalists from Print, Online, Radio and Multimedia Platforms from English speaking, French speaking, Arabic speaking and Portuguese speaking African countries

Last date of submission:

Entries can be submitted till 30th June 2020

How to apply?

Entries can be submitted via Email to info@merck-foundation.com along with your details (including Name, Gender, Country, Media house, Email address & Mobile Number) and entry as an attachment

Categories and Prize Money:
Category
TV USD 500
Radio USD 500
Print USD 500
Online USD 500
Prize Money USD 500

*Merck Foundation


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African Development Bank approves $1.5 million emergency grant to curb desert locusts ravaging East and Horn of Africa
April 3, 2020 | 0 Comments
2020-02-14 Kiaruni/Kenya Swarm of 40-50 million adult desert locust hits millet fields in dmall Kenyan village – By Nicole Macheroux-Denault
The proposed assistance will be channeled to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, April 2, 2020/ — The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) on Wednesday approved a $1.5 million emergency relief grant to assist nine countries in the East and Horn of Africa on the control of swarms of desert locusts that are threatening livelihoods and food security.

The proposed assistance will be channeled to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which has been mandated to mobilize resources on behalf of the African Union.

IGAD is collaborating with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) which is leading coordination of development partner support to provide desert locust invasion control, safeguard of livelihoods and to promote early recovery of affected households in the in the East and Horn of Africa. FAO will act as the Executing Agency for the grant.

The funds will be used to control the spread of the current locust invasion, prevent potential next-generation swarms and to conduct impact assessment and monitoring to enhance preparedness and awareness. A portion of the funds would also be allocated to administrative costs.

The nine beneficiary countries are Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.

Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia have been particularly hard hit by the outbreak and widespread breeding of locusts that is expected to create new swarms in the coming weeks. The infestation poses an unprecedented risk to livelihoods and food security in an already fragile region and has caused huge damage to agricultural production.

In Ethiopia and Somalia, the outbreak is the worst in 25 years, and in Kenya, in 70 years.

In Ethiopia, the locusts have devastated more than 30,000 hectares of crops, including coffee and tea that account for about 30% of the nation’s exports. Despite government’s interventions, swarms and breeding have been reported in large parts of the country. In Djibouti, over 80% of 1,700 agro-pastoral farms located in 23 production zones are affected by desert locust infestations.

At least 18 of 47 Kenyan counties are affected with more than 70,000 hectares of crops under infestation according to recent FAO reports. Locust swarms are devastating pastureland, maize, cowpeas, beans and other crops despite the government’s efforts to curb the outbreak.

Locust swarms are reportedly also threatening Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sudan and Eritrea.

Efforts to control the infestations will require around $147 million, of which $75 million has been provided by governments, donors and UN agencies including FAO and the World Food Program (WFP). However, a significant funding shortfall remains.

*AFDB
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World Bank Approves $10 Million Grant to Gambia to Fight COVID-19
April 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

The World Bank has announced Tuesday its approval of $10 million to support The Gambia’s COVID-19 response.

The grant is approved from the International Development Association (IDA) for the country to provide emergency assistance in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“The COVID-19 Response and Preparedness Project will enhance case detection, tracing, and reporting, as well as provide equipment to isolation and treatment centers, and improve disease surveillance and diagnostic capacity,” the statement from Washington stated.

It will also focus on risk communications and community engagement for increased awareness and compliance with prevention and social distancing measures.

“This rapid response operation draws from the World Bank Group’s $14 billion package of fast-track financing to help countries in their efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the spread of COVID-19,” said Ms. Elene Imnadze, Resident Representative for The Gambia.

“It provides the financing needed to strengthen coordination with partners and implement the Government’s National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan.”

The World Bank Group is rolling out a $14 billion fast-track package to strengthen the COVID-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery.

The immediate response includes financing, policy advice and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

The statement indicated that the IFC is providing $8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs. IBRD and IDA are making an initial $6 billion available for the health-response.

“As countries need broader support, the World Bank Group will deploy up to $160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery.”

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Development bank for Central African States disburse 90 Billion FCFA to circumvent economic impact of Coronavirus
April 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

CEMAC Leaders at a 2019 Summit in Yaounde ,Cameroon.Photo credit PRC.

The Development Bank of Central African States, BDEAC is finalizing plans to doll out cira 90 billion francs CFA to governments of the six member states of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, CEMAC, to enable them cushion the negative economic impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

This was the major decision reached when Finance Ministers of CEMAC met in Brazzaville, the Congolese capital on March 29, to ponder on the economic slum looming within the sub region, nay the world, because of the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak worldwide.

During what they categorized as an extraordinary meeting, Finance Ministers from Cameroon, Chad Republic, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic and Congo Brazzaville took much time in analyzing the impact of this pandemic on the economic fabric of their nations and the sub region in general.

They noted that with the drastic fall in price of a barrel of oil and the drop in trade deals across the sub region, Africa and the world, there was a need for such a subsidy to enable CEMAC member states face the crisis situation.

In a press release issued by the Permanent Secretary of the CEMAC Economic and Financial Reform Programme, PREFCEMAC, the Bank of Central African States, BEAC will make this money available to the sub region’s development bank. PREFCEMAC specified that the money will be channeled to finance public projects relating to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the strengthening of health systems within member states.

Before this decision emanated from the extraordinary meeting of CEMAC Finance Ministers, the sub regional development bank had already dished out 500 million francs CFA to each member state to enable governments take precautionary measures as the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic was announced.

Development and Central Bank officials also announced that BEAC will double the weekly credits it normally gives to credit banks. This will rise from 250 billion francs CFA to 500 billion francs per week.

This is also in line with the statutes of the monetary policy committee which met a few days before the Finance Ministers’ met and deliberated by videoconference.

The sub region’s monetary officials also assured that all interest rates normally attributed to calls for tender will be lowered by 25 basis points, as well as the revised marginal loan facility rate by 100 points.

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