Guyana is among several Caribbean countries that will benefit from US$2.5 million for urgent COVID-19 assistance.
This funding comes from the United States Agency for International Development and was announced for countries in the Eastern Caribbean region. These are The Bahamas, Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago. This assistance will provide support for “the operational costs of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, outreach activities to reduce vaccine hesitancy in collaboration with local influencers and celebrities, vaccine hesitancy surveys,” a release said. It will also support the procurement of equipment “to support the development of COVID-19 vaccine information systems, laboratory detection and vaccine storage.”
The announcement of the funding was announced last week by Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown, Mark Cullinane during a review of the USAID/CARICOM regional strategy.
“This review speaks to the level of importance that the United States holds CARICOM as a strategic partner in the global COVID-19 response and advancing health security in the Caribbean..the United States will work proudly alongside our regional partners, PAHO, UNICEF, CARPHA and CARICOM in efforts to mitigate and eliminate the effects of the pandemic in Guyana and the wider Caribbean,” Cullinane said
USAID Regional Representative for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, Clinton. D. White, noted that “the new funding will also respond to urgent gaps in COVID-19 case management such as procuring oxygen, laboratory equipment, and other critical items to help reduce deaths from COVID-19 in Caribbean countries.”
CARICOM, Secretary General, Dr. Carla Barnett, expressed appreciation for this assistance, “No Member State has been spared from this deadly virus and its devastating impact on the health and wellbeing of their citizens and their respective economies”.
Dr Barnett anticipated that the resources will assist the Member States “to intensify their logistical arrangements and communications to further support vaccine readiness while countering vaccine hesitancy and disinformation, which we anticipate will increase the numbers of persons vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus”.
This additional assistance from the historic American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 builds on the previous COVID-19 support provided to Caribbean countries. USAID has provided nearly $63 million in COVID-19 assistance to the Caribbean, including nearly $7.45 million specifically to the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, since the beginning of the pandemic to address the health, humanitarian, and economic impacts of COVID-19.