NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The United States Government has announced plans to provide $1.5 million in urgent COVID-19 assistance through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to Caribbean countries including the Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
This assistance will help countries conduct vaccination campaigns, overcome vaccine hesitancy and increase vaccination rates. It will also help governments launch engagement activities, train healthcare workers and counter misinformation.
While the rate of new cases in the Bahamas has dropped significantly, the global COVID-19 pandemic is not over and less than half of all Bahamians are vaccinated.
USAID will direct funding through organizations such as local ministries of health, NGOs, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), UNICEF and USAID’s Country Health Information Systems and Data Use (CHISU) project.
Charge d’Affaires Usha Pitts of the U.S. Embassy in the Bahamas said, “Now that new cases are declining, our challenge is to ensure the country is ready to fight the next wave of COVID, when or how it will happen. appears. The continuing problem of vaccine hesitancy is a major impediment to these preparations, so the timing of this assistance is critical. I hope to see as many people as possible get vaccinated against COVID-19, so that we can prevent future strains of the virus from sweeping the country. »
USAID Regional Representative for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, Clinton D. White, added, “Funding will fill key gaps to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine uptake and strengthen country preparedness for future pandemic threats. . The United States government remains firmly committed to assisting the government and people of The Bahamas in the fight against COVID-19. »
This additional assistance builds on the nearly $63 million in COVID-19 funding already provided by USAID to the Caribbean to address the health, humanitarian, and economic impacts of COVID-19. This includes funding of $750,000 for the Bahamas alone.
USAID’s previous COVID-19 assistance to the Bahamas led to the installation of 300 disinfection units in classrooms and aged care facilities, and 18 portable radios for emergency medical services. Additionally, USAID funding was used to purchase state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and industrial-grade laundry equipment for Princess Margaret Hospital.