US assistance to support PH Covid response hits P1.3 billion

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The United States has provided nearly P1.3 billion (USD27 million) to support the Philippines’ coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response, according to its embassy in Manila.

In an infographic released Saturday, the US embassy presented a snapshot of assistance given by the US government and US companies to the Philippines such as efforts to support medical treatment, strengthen risk communication, empower health workers, strengthen supply chain management, and boost testing capacity.

As of April 15, the US donated 100 new ventilators worth P117 million.

A total of P36.8 million worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) gears were also delivered by the US to 49 medical facilities and P6 million in surgical masks to the Department of Health (DOH) and local government units (LGUs).

The US also donated 1,300 new beds which are valued at P2 million and 65 isolation tents to hospitals and LGUs amounting to P2 million.

A total of P41.6 million was donated to support a United Nations (UN) project to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on at-risk communities.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) also facilitated the Philippine government’s rapid procurement of more than P45 billion in PPE sets and other Covid-19 essentials.

As part of efforts to strengthen risk communication, the US supported the development of the national communication campaign on Covid-19 called BIDA Solusyon (Be the Solution), now handed over to the DOH.

The US also supported the development of the Healthy Pilipinas website as the source of reliable and accurate Covid-19 information and updates handed over to the DOH.

It also bolstered gender-based violence awareness and reached over 3 million people online, 68 percent of whom are women with a median age of 18 to 24 years old through the FamiLigtas (Safe Family) campaign.

The US also trained over 34,000 health workers on infection, prevention, and control (IPC), hospital waste management, risk communication, contact tracing, and supply chain management.

The USAID-supported online learning modules are also boosting the capabilities of more than 100 hospitals and over 5,000 health workers trained.

A total of 390 doctors and nurses were trained on Covid-19 critical care management in 31 Covid-19 referral facilities.

To strengthen supply chain management, the US assisted DOH and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to develop and launch a national commodity and logistics tracking tool.

The USAID-backed ReliefAgad system facilitated the distribution of P113 billion in cash relief assistance to 17.2 million beneficiaries under the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) cash aid.

Technical support was also given to 100 laboratories to meet the standards for Covid-19 testing.

The US was able to help the Philippines reduce specimen transport delivery time from an average of 3 days to less than one day in provinces/cities in Mindanao.

They also supported increase of DOH testing capacity from an initial 200 to 30,000 tests per day.

To date, the US is also the largest donor to the World Health Organization-led Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) initiative that ensures equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines in low and middle-income countries.

The US has already donated a total of P97.2 billion (USD2 billion) as part of a P194.4-billion (USD4 billion) US pledge to support vaccine access for the Philippines and other countries.

Under the World Health Organization-led initiative, 1 of 5 Filipinos is expected to receive vaccine by the end of 2021.

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