PAHO appeals for millions to help region
WASHINGTON – The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) is appealing for US$94.8 million from donors to fund priority public health measures to help Caribbean and Latin American countries face the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
On April 2, PAHO said the funds will be used to carry out its COVID-19 Response Strategy which, it said, is in alignment with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The response strategy “aims to save lives and slow transmission of the virus to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on health systems and population health, with a focus on countries that most need help”.
The organisation said the requested resources will support the strategy through September 2020. As the pandemic evolves, the needs are expected to increase, it noted.
“The spread of COVID-19 is accelerating in the Americas, and we need to intensify actions to stop it,” said PAHO’s Dominica-born director Dr Carissa F. Etienne.
“This new virus has shown that it can overload health services even in the most developed countries,” she added. “We need to invest more to protect the most vulnerable, including health workers, and to save lives.”
PAHO said Brazil reported the first imported case in Latin America and the Caribbean on February 26, 2020. Within a month, PAHO said, the virus had spread to 48 countries and territories in the hemisphere.
As of April 1, it said 51 countries and territories in the Americas, including the Caribbean, had reported 216 912 confirmed cases and 4 565 deaths from COVID-19.
In the past ten days, PAHO said confirmed cases have increased tenfold.
Currently, it said the United States is the country with the majority of cases in the world and 86 per cent of cases in the Americas.
PAHO said its strategy has five priority lines of action: Early detection of COVID-19 cases through existing surveillance systems; ensuring capacity and sufficient tests and reagents for timely laboratory diagnosis; infection prevention and control in health services; optimising the capacity of local health systems to manage cases and provide care safely; and information dissemination to help people understand their risks and motivate them to take measures to protect themselves and their loved ones.