By Roy Mabasa
The United States government has provided the Philippines an additional US$1.3 million or Php 66 million to combat the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the fresh funds will augment the US government’s support for the country’s laboratory systems; intensify case-finding and event-based surveillance; fortify systems to prevent and control infections; expand risk communication, and support Filipino and international technical experts to enhance response and preparedness.
In a statement, the USAID said the assistance will enable the Philippines to expand its testing capacity so that more people who have COVID-19 will be able to access life-saving treatment.
The USAID is now coordinating with the Department of Health and other stakeholders to intensify efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines and beyond.
Moreover, the US assistance will also provide more Filipinos and health care providers access to the latest and most accurate information about COVID-19.
The US Embassy in Manila explained that the additional fund is the completion of the US$4 million (Php 203 million) aid announced in a March 31 fact sheet of the US Department of State.
On March 17, 2020, the US State Department announced the initial tranche of $2.7 million (Php 139 million) assistance to the Philippines for the establishment and implementation of internationally recognized infectious disease threat prevention and response strategies and enhancement of infection control.
US Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim said the latest US government support to the DOH for its COVID-19 response “demonstrates our longstanding commitment to our Philippine friends, partners, and allies in times of need.”
Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested nearly Php 29.6 billion ($582 million) in the Philippine health sector and has provided nearly Php 228.8 billion ($4.5 billion) in total development assistance to advance the country’s development goals.