Posted: Monday, March 29, 2021. 4:17 pm CST.
By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Government of Canada is contributing CAN$1.2 million (BZ$1.9 million) to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) so that Belize, the Bahamas, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago are provided with essential equipment and supplies to fight the pandemic.
PAHO said Canada has now donated BZ$16 million in support of PAHO’s technical cooperation to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in the Americas.
While many countries in the Caribbean have either rolled out the vaccine or will soon do so, several have reported a scaling up of COVID-19 cases and a doubling of COVID-19 deaths.
Canada’s donation will be used “to buy essential personal protection equipment, laboratory and medical equipment, as well as supplies to be used by health care workers and hospitals in the Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad, and Tobago.”
PAHO said this is part of the technical cooperation in the fight against the pandemic. PAHO added that the donation “will also help strengthen communication efforts around public health risks, continued promotion of protective measures and community engagement.”
“The pandemic is putting health care workers and systems of the countries in the Caribbean under great strain, which is why we are grateful to the Government of Canada for supporting COVID-19 treatment for countries in the Caribbean that are struggling due to the pandemic,” said PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne. “Their contribution will help save lives and shows how we can all join forces in solidarity to defeat this virus.”
The Canadian donation forms part of a 5-year subregional program between PAHO and Canada, which has the objective of reducing health problems caused by emergencies and disasters in the Caribbean, “through better preparedness and a more resilient health sector.”
“Even one year later, COVID-19 continues to challenge health systems across the Caribbean, and we continue to see the stark health and socioeconomic impacts this crisis is having on the Caribbean people,” said Jennifer Hays, Canada’s Acting Senior Director for the Caribbean Regional Development Program. “Canada is proud to partner with PAHO once again to provide additional much-needed medical equipment, supplies, and training to support the Caribbean countries that are facing the greatest health sector crisis from COVID-19.”
PAHO said that along with Canada they are intent on continuing looking for solutions to the critical needs of Latin American and Caribbean countries, so as to sustain the fight against COVID-19. It added that even as vaccine campaigns roll out, “there are still many challenges ahead which are best addressed collectively.”
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