U.S. assists Sri Lanka to battle COVID-19
U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires Martin Kelly and Secretary to the Ministry of Health Dr. S.H. Munasinghe commemorated the donation of critically needed emergency supplies, including pulse oximeters, protective goggles, examination gloves and KN95 masks donated by the American people at the request of the Government of Sri Lanka yesterday.
The donation arrived at Bandaranaike International Airport on Saturday. “The U.S. and Sri Lanka have worked closely together to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic since the outset,” said Charge d’Affaires Kelly. “We recognise the serious personal toll of the pandemic. At the Government’s request, we’re providing these urgently needed supplies to the Ministry of Health to ensure they reach those in need as fast as possible”,she added.
The shipment of these emergency relief supplies follows the White House announcement last Thursday that the U.S. will make available nearly seven million vaccine doses for countries in South and Southeast Asia, including Sri Lanka. Since March 2020, the U.S. has provided $ 6 million, plus a donation of 200 ventilators to control the spread of COVID-19, address urgent health needs of the Sri Lankan people, and ultimately save lives. This assistance has reached millions of people in all 25 Districts and nine Provinces to mobilise critical supplies and expertise to support the Government’s response to the pandemic.
The funding also helps to mitigate the pandemic’s negative economic impacts and help the country recover. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has invested over $26 million in the past 20 years to improve the health and wellbeing of Sri Lankan families and to combat diseases such as malaria, avian influenza and now, COVID-19.
This is one component of the longstanding partnership between the American and Sri Lankan people to support self-reliance and promote economic growth. USAID’s programme in Sri Lanka, totaling more than 350 billion LKR ($2 billion) since 1961, promotes a healthy, educated, and employed population.