The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) raised more than US$263 million in donations during 2020, to provide member countries with technical support and supplies to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a statement on Tuesday (January 12), PAHO indicated the sum comprised direct financial support, contributions channeled through the World Health Organization (WHO), and agreements negotiated with PAHO member states, with support from international financial institutions.
The sum also included US$70.8 million in PAHO member countries’ contributions to fund their respective public health responses to COVID-19.
According to PAHO, the funds were used to purchase essential supplies and equipment, including 119 shipments of personal protective equipment to 34 nations and 21.4 million COVID-19 PCR tests for 36 countries and territories, and to facilitate more than 224 training sessions on testing, tracking, and patient care.
A key component of the technical input was PAHO’s provision of 111 guidelines and recommendations.
A breakdown of the funding provisions shows that US$91 million was paid directly to PAHO by the governments of Belize, Canada, Colombia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Commission, among others.
Donations were also provided by multiple United Nations (UN) agencies; regional and international development banks; the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions; the Yamuni Tabush Foundation; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the Rockefeller Foundation, and individuals who contributed to the PAHO COVID-19 Response Fund.
Additionally, US$101.3 million was provided by various partners through the WHO.
PAHO Director, Dr. Carissa Etienne, said the Organization was grateful to the stakeholders who made it possible to assist member countries to combat the deadly pandemic.
“COVID-19 will not be defeated until everyone is safe. Our public health response to the disease must leave no one behind,” Dr. Etienne said.
Meanwhile, Director of PAHO’s Health Emergencies Department, Dr. Ciro Ugarte, said the funds “have allowed us to work side by side with ministries of health and other key partners to tackle this pandemic”.
He said the supplies and training have been critical in reducing cases and treating patients.
Dr. Ugarte noted, however, that there are enormous challenges that remain, which will require continued support.
“We will need resources to help member countries carry out vaccination of over 465 million people in 39 countries and territories in 2021. And while vaccination is rolled out, we must continue our support to limit transmission, reduce mortality, and provide essential health services,” he added.