Canada contributes CAD$7.5 million to assist Caribbean countries to combat COVID-19 pandemic

Karina Gould

OTTAWA  – The Canadian government has made a CAD$7.5 million contribution to several Caribbean countries — under the auspices of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) — to assist them in combating the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Canada’s contribution comes, in addition to a previous allocation of CAD$1.5 million, made to PAHO this year, to support the overall regional response to COVID-19, in response to priorities, outlined in the donor appeal, published by PAHO.

“The COVID-19 virus knows no borders, and cooperation with international partners, such as PAHO, has been key to fighting this global pandemic and minimizing its impact on health systems,” commented Canada’s Minister of International Development, Karina Gould.

“Canada recognizes the essential role that PAHO plays, in responding to health challenges and emergencies in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

PAHO disclosed that the Caribbean countries to benefit from the aid are: Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.

It said eight other countries in Central and South America, namely: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, and Paraguay, will also benefit.

“We are grateful to the government of Canada for its contribution to the Pan American response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the region,” said PAHO Director, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne.

Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dominica-born Dr. Carissa F. Etienne.

Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dominica-born Dr. Carissa F. Etienne.

PAHO reported that Canada’s financial aid will primarily support increased access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other critical supplies, to assist countries in their efforts to save lives and limit the human-to-human transmission of the COVID-19 diseases, focusing on populations experiencing marginalization or vulnerability, including health care workers.

“This outbreak has caused large upheavals in the health systems of our region, and our countries need all the support they can get. Canadian backing for health protection measures in the Caribbean, Central and South America will help their health workers deal, more effectively, with these challenges,” she added.

Gould and Etienne met, yesterday, to further discuss how to address the immediate needs and impact of the pandemic in the region of the Americas.

PAHO launched a donor appeal in March, to support and scale-up COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts in the region of the Americas, seeking US$94.8 million for six months.

So far, it has received US$52.7 million for urgent preparedness and response activities in response to COVID-19, including US$23.2 million, channelled through the World Health Organization (WHO); and US$29.5 million, directly to PAHO.