Teams across the U.S. government, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Defense and the Department of State, are working together worldwide on the response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by prioritizing programs and countries with the greatest need for assistance to have the greatest impact.
The United States is proud to continue its long tradition as the world leader in the provision of health and humanitarian assistance to our allies and friends around the globe as they combat serious diseases like Ebola, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Currently, we are investing our technical expertise and resources to help lead the global response to COVID-19. Since the outbreak began, the U.S. government has committed more than $775 million (14.7 billion Maloti) in assistance worldwide specifically aimed at fighting the pandemic, with much more to come. Our funding will save lives by improving public health education, supporting healthcare facilities, and increasing laboratory, disease-surveillance, and rapid-response capacity in more than 100 of the most at-risk countries around the world.
The United States is pleased to announce the contribution of $3.75 million (over 71 million Maloti) in new health assistance to help Lesotho respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. As Ambassador Gonzales previously stated, our team continues to work around the clock to provide technical assistance to our Basotho colleagues and to secure additional resources such as the major projects listed below.
- Through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States is providing $3 million (approx. 57 Million Maloti) to partners including the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), PSI, ICAP at Columbia University, and the Ministry of Health. The funding will focus on: 1) laboratory programs and testing, 2) disease surveillance, 3) infection prevention and control, and 4) community mitigation efforts. More than a third of this funding (approx.. $1 million or 19.5 million Maloti) will support laboratory capacity building and laboratory testing to help boost Lesotho’s capacity to diagnose COVID-19 cases and to improve turn-around time for test results. Another $800,000 (15 million Maloti) will provide infection prevention and control, training and technical assistance in healthcare facilities, as well as procure locally-produced personal protection equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers. The funding includes $30,000 (569,000 Maloti) to support the Ministry of Health’s national toll-free hotline.
- Through a grant from USAID to Jhpiego, the U.S. government is providing $750,000 to support the Ministry of Health in two inter-related pillars of COVID-19 response: 1) case management support within the designated COVID-19 treatment centers and additional health care facilities as needed and 2) context-specific risk communication with a focus on healthcare workers.
This new funding builds upon our historic and ongoing commitments to Lesotho, where we have provided more than $834 million (over 15.8 billion Maloti) in health assistance over the last twenty years. Through PEPFAR, we provide HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment services in all ten districts, as well as laboratory support and technical assistance to supply chain management. Through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, we constructed and renovated 138 health clinics and 14 outpatient facilities across the country, in addition to supporting large-scale sanitation and water projects. We are proud of the role the United States has played, alongside our colleagues from the Government of Lesotho and our implementing partners, in building Lesotho’s public health foundation.
The United States remains Lesotho’s long-standing, most steadfast diplomatic partner. We have fought back against the HIV/AIDS epidemic together for more than a decade. Together we will fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, we will continue to help countries build resilient health care systems that can prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks. We will continue to promote accountability and transparency in times of crisis because these criteria are essential to the health and well-being of a nation. We will continue to advocate for consistent and accurate public health information to be communicated and shared via the media. With this additional U.S. funding, the United States reaffirms its commitment to support the health and well-being of all Basotho and reminds the public, “Let’soelle le beta poho” – United We Stand against COVID-19.