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U.S. boosts Liberia’s COVID-19 fight

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The United States Government has committed $1,000,000 in health funds to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Liberia. The United States, via the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing life-saving support by coordinating with the Government of Liberia, international humanitarian partners, and other stakeholders to identify priority areas for investment.

The Charge d’Affaires at the United States Embassy in Liberia, Ms. Alyson Grunder, said, “This funding is supplemental to our already substantial assistance to strengthen Liberia’s health system. Our on-the-ground cooperation and partnerships with Liberian health institutions and health professionals allows us to target resources to Liberia’s most pressing needs.”

A press release posted on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia says through this assistance, USAID will support several programs, including case management to strengthen clinical care while minimizing the risk of transmission to others, and infection prevention and control in health facilities.

USAID is also targeting laboratory strengthening to help Liberia prepare for COVID-19 testing, communications to help educate people on steps they can take to prevent and respond to the spread of the virus through country-specific media campaigns.

The agency intends to support surveillance and rapid response to enhance case-finding and event-based surveillance for COVID-19. It also helps countries train and support rapid-response teams to investigate cases and conduct contact tracing.

The release further says investments in the health sector have been a major part of United States development assistance to Liberia. The United States provided $2.5 billion in foreign assistance to help Liberia and other countries in West Africa respond to and recover from the 2014-2015 Ebola Virus Disease outbreak.

“Over the last several years, the United States has provided over $54 million annually in health assistance to Liberia to support maternal and child health care, malaria and HIV prevention and treatment, and Global Health Security Agenda and WASH activities”, according to the release.

For decades, the United States has been the world’s largest provider of bilateral assistance in public health. Months into fighting this pandemic at home and abroad, the United States remains the largest single country donor to the response efforts globally, building on decades of leadership in life-saving health and humanitarian assistance.

Besides this direct U.S. government funding, “our All-of-America approach is helping people around the world through the generosity of American private businesses, nonprofit groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, and individuals.

Since 2009, American taxpayers have generously funded more than $100 billion in health assistance and nearly $70 billion in humanitarian assistance. Because an infectious-disease threat anywhere can become a threat everywhere, the United States calls on other donors to contribute to the global effort to combat COVID-19.

The United States Embassy near Monrovia in April announced an additional $1 million for USAID Liberia programs that will provide critical aid for all 15 Liberian counties — including support to the counties for response activities, identification and testing of suspect cases, and contact tracing.

However, it demands from the Government of Liberia and civil society organizations with which it is partnering to maintain the highest standards of accountability and transparency.

Chargé d’Affaires Alyson Grunder, detailed the fund will support community engagement and risk communication using local partners who can most effectively deliver messages about prevention and testing.

“This funding will also support quarantine efforts. I note that over the past two decades, the United States has been the largest contributor to Liberia’s health sector, laying a strong foundation for Liberia’s COVID-19 response through more than $4 billion in total assistance, including more than $675 million in health assistance”, she notes. Press Release

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