US provides $22m to Bangladesh for combating COVID-19

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DHAKA, May 7, 2020 (BSS) – The USA government has provided over 22 million
US dollar to Bangladesh to help the government’s ongoing efforts to prepare
and respond to the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

“As of today, the total U.S. government contribution for COVID-19 response
support to Bangladesh amounts to over $22 million,” said US ambassador to
Bangladesh Earl R Miller.

The US envoy was addressing the virtual lunching ceremony of an online
training course for Bangladeshi doctors over COVID-19 at the support of
United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The US government provides the fund through USAID and U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that builds on more than $1 billion in
health assistance provided to Bangladesh over the past 20 years.

Miller said the US was one of the first countries in the world to provide
funds for Bangladesh’s COVID-19 readiness and response efforts.

This support, The US envoy said, combined with ongoing training and
guidance from CDC and USAID public health experts and their partners, will
continue to strengthen disease preparedness, detection, and response systems.

“Our support in response to COVID-19 reaffirms the United States’ long-term
commitment to Bangladesh. We will get through this crisis together,” he said.

The US Ambassador also expressed his tribute to the frontline worriers of
the COVID-19 combat that include health care workers, police, journalists and
people who work in grocery stores and pharmacies and other businesses.

Terming journalists and photojournalists, and media outlets as genuine
heroes, he said “you provide what any vibrant democracy needs, especially in
times of crisis – objective information, facts and the truth.”

Saying that press freedom plays an essential role in providing the facts
and accurate information needed to keep citizens informed and safe amid the
COVID-19 crisis, Miller said journalists should be free to pursue the truth
without fear of censorship, harassment, or arrest as they perform this life-
saving service.

“I love how health workers are publicly applauded in many countries. They
should be, and so should journalists, everywhere. You deserve our immense
gratitude,” he said.

The USIAD, Bangladesh Health and Family Welfare Ministry and Bangabandhu
Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) jointly created the online training
course on COVID-19 for Bangladeshi doctors through the US government funding.

The course will provide doctors with useful information on COVID-19,
including how to deal with it as a health professional while ensuring one’s
own protection and safety, and can be accessed for free by doctors anywhere
in Bangladesh through the government’s e-learning platform Muktopaath.

The USAID is also working with the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease
Control and Research (IEDCR) to conduct surveillance to identify and track
individuals infected by COVID-19 and the people they have been in contact
with to prevent further spread of the disease and to foster data driven
decision-making.

Additionally, the US government has been supporting the Directorate General
of Health Services (DGHS) to develop national guidelines on infection
prevention and control, and train more than 1,900 health professionals on
different aspects of COVID-19 management, and infection control and
prevention.

The USAID has also helped the Government of Bangladesh develop an
electronic logistics management information (LMIS) tool to track and manage
the commodities needed for COVID-19 prevention, US embassy official source
said.