NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The USA Government has announced plans to offer $1.5 million in urgent COVID-19 assistance through america Agency for International Development (USAID) for countries within the Caribbean, 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 can also help governments launch engagement activities, train healthcare staff, and combat misinformation.
While the speed of new cases in The Bahamas has declined significantly, the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic just isn’t over, and fewer than half of all Bahamians are vaccinated.
USAID will direct funding through organizations akin to local Ministries of Health, NGOs, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), UNICEF, and USAID’s Country Health Information Systems and Data Use (CHISU) project.
Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts of the U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas said: “Now that new cases are declining, our challenge lays with ensuring the country is ready to battle the subsequent wave of COVID, at any time when or nevertheless it appears. The continuing problem of vaccine hesitancy is a serious obstacle to those preparations, so the timing of this assistance is essential. I hope to see as many individuals get vaccinated against COVID-19 as possible, so we will prevent future strains of the virus from sweeping the country.”
USAID Regional Representative for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, Clinton D. White, added: “The funding will fill key gaps to speed up COVID-19 vaccine uptake, and strengthen countries’ preparedness for future pandemic threats. The USA Government stays firmly committed to assisting the federal government and folks of The Bahamas within the fight against COVID-19.”
This extra assistance builds on the nearly $63 million in COVID-19 funding already provided by USAID to the Caribbean to deal with the health, humanitarian, and economic impacts of COVID-19. This includes $750,000 in funding to The Bahamas alone.
USAID’s previous COVID-19 assistance to The Bahamas led to the installation of 300 sanitizer units in classrooms and senior citizen care facilities, and 18 handheld radios for emergency medical services. As well as, USAID funding was used to obtain state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and industrial-grade laundry equipment for Princess Margaret Hospital.