U.S. announces US$9.9 million coronavirus funding

By Tina Mata'afa-Tufele 22 May 2020, 11:00AM

Samoa is among 12 Pacific nations that stand to benefit from the latest coronavirus (Covid-19) response funding from the United States government with US$9.9 million (T$27.4 million) announced on Thursday morning. 

The assistance has been made through the United States Agency for International Development (U.S.A.I.D.), according to a statement from the U.S. Embassy Apia Samoa.

“The United States and Samoa are close and enduring partners in the Pacific, with our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” U.S. Ambassador Scott Brown said.

“As we continue to bolster the ability of countries in the region to lead their development journeys, we remain committed to supporting our Pacific partners in addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The newest tranche of assistance from the U.S. government will enable U.S.A.I.D. to work with the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Samoa.

The funds will be used to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations to combat disinformation and protect the rights of vulnerable and marginalized populations.

The US$9.9 million brings the total of U.S.A.I.D. assistance for the region to nearly US$12.2 million (T$33.8 million). 

U.S.A.I.D. has also provided Papua New Guinea with US$3.5 million for its COVID-19 response, while total U.S. government assistance to all Pacific Island countries for COVID-19 response to date exceeds US$45.8 million.

The U.S. government will also provide grants to private sector and civil society partners to implement community and national-level activities that will boost partner countries’ resilience and their ability to respond to the economic and social impacts of COVID-19.  

This additional investment supports the continued work of U.S.A.I.D. to assist governments in preparing laboratory systems, activating case-finding and event-based surveillance, and supporting technical experts for COVID-19 response and preparedness. 

U.S.A.I.D. will also advance risk communication, strengthen infection prevention and control in health facilities, and improve logistics and coordination.

Worldwide, the United States continues to lead efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic, having invested more than US$900 million in emergency health, humanitarian, economic, and development assistance to date.

Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested over US$5.21 billion in assistance to the Pacific Islands region. Over the past decade, the United States has invested more than US$620 million for health in the Pacific Islands, the statement says.

The Samoa Observer has sent questions to the Government of Samoa for details on Samoa’s portion of the US$9.9 million funding.

By Tina Mata'afa-Tufele 22 May 2020, 11:00AM

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