The United States government has contributed P56 million pula (US$4.65 million) to Botswana’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
A Thursday’s news release from the US Embassy in Gaborone states that the total includes US$1.5 million in assistance, which was announced by the US government on April 16.
It further states that the funding will support Botswana’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, treat those infected, and contribute to Botswana’s preparedness to respond to global pandemics.
The investments will be disbursed through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the Department of Defense Overseas Humanitarian Disaster Assistance and Civic Aid, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United States Agency for International Development to support government communities through a number of activities including; provision of 5 000 face shields and other key personal protective equipment, training and deployment of community health workers to find cases of COVID-19 so that early detection can stop the virus from spreading.
Other activities to be carried out with the donation are; training of healthcare workers on infection prevention and control as well as managing patients with COVID-19 to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate its impact in Botswana.
The funds will also go towards strengthening the existing national surveillance system and improving data and information management systems to estimate the impact of the disease on Botswana, identify risk factors that could make Botswana more susceptible to COVID-19, and determine how it is spreading, which will inform public health protocols to stop transmission of the disease and save lives.
“Just as the United States partnered with Botswana over the past decades in its fight against HIV with more than US$1 billion in assistance, we are here to assist in the fight against COVID-19,” states the release.
The release further states that this funding supplements the US government’s existing partnership with Botswana’s Ministry of Health and Wellness for health system strengthening, including the development of laboratory and clinic systems, modelling and surveillance, and health worker training that form the foundation of Botswana’s COVID-19 response.
The release states that globally, the US government is the world’s most generous provider of bilateral assistance in global health.
Since 2009, American taxpayers have made available more than US$100 billion in health assistance and nearly 70 billion US. dollars in humanitarian assistance across the world.