US $3.6 mn COVID aid to India

A US health agency has committed $3.6 million to support India’s battle against the COVID-19 epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the funds would support prevention, preparedness, and response against the disease. “This initial tranche of funding will seek to strengthen the government of India’s efforts to increase laboratory capacity for SARS-COV-2 testing, including molecular diagnostics and serology,” the CDC said in a statement.The agency said the funds will also be used to support the development of Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) centers and strengthen local health systems to improve the detection of COVID-19. “The CDC will work with local partners to assist in the development of a strong public health workforce to support India’s capacity to respond not only to this pandemic but to future threats as well,” it said.

Besides helping to improve the capacity of the health centers, the CDC India program will also provide technical assistance in risk management and communication to the government to deal with the ongoing crisis. Since early January, the CDC India has been collaborating with the state-run regional and national institutes to support the COVID-19 response. The collaboration efforts are focused on enhancing lab capacities, infection prevention and control, health workforce development, emergency management, risk communication, and community engagement, the agency said.

It is also conducting training for healthcare administrators, physicians, nurses, and hospital staff members to equip them with the necessary skills to collect, analyze, and interpret data, and contribute to evidence-based decisions. The goal is to limit transmission, minimize the impact of the virus, and gaps in preparedness through partnerships with key countries and non-governmental partners, it added.

The CDC has a long-standing technical collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to control HIV, TB, malaria, polio, and prepare responses to influenza and other pandemic diseases.  Over the past two decades, this partnership has received support at the highest levels of the two governments and has deepened cooperation through the exchange of scientific knowledge, expertise, and technology, and the development of institutional and human capacities for addressing these health goals, the CDC said. These investments have laid the foundation for effectively preparing for emerging threats, including the current coronavirus outbreak, it said.

In India, the American agencies, including the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the CDC, and the Department of Health and Human Services have provided over $1.4 billion in health assistance and nearly $2.8 billio

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