THE U.S. government approved an additional Php269 million ($5.3 million) in health and humanitarian assistance to help support the Philippines in the fight against COVID-19, bringing total U.S. assistance to the Philippines to more than Php470 million ($9.3 million). The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is collaborating with the Philippine government to implement internationally-recognized prevention, control, and response strategies to protect against infectious diseases.
This newest tranche of U.S. assistance will support laboratory and specimen-transport systems and intensify case-finding and disease surveillance. The funding also will assist Filipino and international technical experts in risk communication, infection prevention and control efforts, handwashing and hygiene promotion, and community-level preparedness and response.
Previously, the United States announced Php203 million ($4 million) in health funding to support the Philippine government’s efforts to prepare laboratory systems to combat the virus, as well as a donation of 1,300 cots to Philippine medical facilities.
Thus far, U.S. assistance has:
· Boosted Testing Capacity: U.S.-supported efforts to augment the Philippines Department of Health (DOH)’s testing capacity by upgrading laboratories, provide laboratory supplies, and strengthen specimen transport systems have contributed to an increase in the country’s testing capacity from 200 to approximately 3,000 tests per day.
· Intensified Infection Control: USAID’s online learning modules are boosting capacities in more than 100 hospitals across the country with the most up-to-date COVID-19 infection prevention and control information and skills. This assistance also helps individuals, families, and frontline community and hospital heath care workers to protect themselves from infection.
· Enhanced Risk Preparedness and Crisis Communications: USAID is supporting DOH communications platforms, including the Healthy Pilipinas Facebook page for accurate COVID-19 information. USAID is also supporting the DOH to rapidly translate and communicate the latest COVID-19 guidelines and policies for improved implementation of COVID-19 response.
· Strengthened Supply Chain Management: USAID assisted the DOH to develop and launch a nationwide commodity and logistics tracking tool that offers real-time data on stores of life-saving COVID-19 commodities, in turn improving the availability and appropriate management and delivery to the areas of greatest need.
· Expanded WASH Access and Data Collection: USAID is expanding community access to water, sanitation, hygiene services, and commodities to prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Funding also aids Filipino and international technical experts in data collection to enhance COVID-19 response and preparedness, including support for two surveillance experts who are assisting the DOH Epidemiology Bureau with Analysis and reporting of COVID-19 cases.
The United States has invested more than $4.5 billion in total assistance to the Philippines over the past 20 years, including $582 million to support the public health system.