OTTAWA, Canada (Tuesday, March 30, 2021) — The government of Canada has announced it will contribute CAN$1,200,000 (approximately USD$950,000) to support the efforts of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) against COVID-19 in six Caribbean countries.
Several countries in the Caribbean are reporting a rise in COVID-19-related deaths, including a doubling of COVID-19 deaths in some islands. Many countries have begun, or will soon begin, rolling out vaccines to protect their populations.
The donation by the Canadian government will be used to acquire essential personal protection equipment, laboratory and medical equipment, as well as supplies to be used by health care workers and hospitals in the Bahamas, Belize, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, as part of PAHO’s technical cooperation in the fight against the pandemic.
It will also help strengthen communication efforts around public health risks, continued promotion of protective measures and community engagement.
Canada’s Acting Senior Director for the Caribbean Regional Development Program, Jennifer Heys, said: “Even one year later, COVID-19 continues to challenge health systems, across the Caribbean, and we continue to see the stark health and socioeconomic impacts this crisis is having on the Caribbean people.
“Canada is proud to partner with PAHO, once again, to provide additional much-needed medical equipment, supplies, and training to support the Caribbean countries that are facing the greatest health sector crisis from COVID-19.”
This contribution is part of a 5-year sub-regional program, between PAHO and Canada, which aims to reduce the health consequence of emergencies and disasters in the Caribbean, through better preparedness and a more resilient health sector.
It builds on the long-standing relationship, between the organization and the Canadian government, to strengthen health emergency risk management in the region of the Americas.
For over 30 years, the government of Canada has supported PAHO’s efforts to improve emergency preparedness, mitigation and response, across Latin America and the Caribbean region. It also played a key role in the establishment of the Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Framework, adopted by CARICOM Member States, together with PAHO.
“The pandemic is putting health care workers and systems of the countries in the Caribbean under great strain, which is why we are grateful to the government of Canada for supporting COVID-19 treatment for countries in the Caribbean that are struggling due to the pandemic. Their contribution will help save lives and shows how we can all join forces in solidarity to defeat this virus,” said PAHO Director, Carissa F. Etienne.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the government of Canada has donated over USD$8 million to support PAHO’s technical cooperation to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic in the Americas.
In the spirit of continuous collaboration and Pan American solidarity, the Canadian government and PAHO have been in conversations to keep addressing critical needs of Latin American and Caribbean countries to sustain the fight against COVID-19. As vaccine campaigns begin in many countries, there are still many challenges ahead which are best addressed collectively.
PAHO is the specialized health agency in the Americas and the regional office of WHO, providing critical leadership, coordination and assistance to fight the spread of COVID-19, save lives, and protect the most vulnerable peoples in all 52 countries and territories of the Americas.