A senior United States official says the U.S. remains in close contact with the Africa Centers for Disease Control and the continent’s national public health agencies in support of the COVID-19 response.
The unnamed official, who provided a U.S. Department of State briefing on Wednesday, said the U.S. is far more invested in Africa’s fight against the coronavirus and “the good work that we’re doing across the continent” than media reports might indicate.
“Our help is much more than money and supplies; it’s the experts that we have deployed worldwide,” the U.S. official said. “It’s the doctors and the public health professionals that have been trained, and thanks to U.S. money and educational institutions that have done this. It’s the supply chains that we keep open and moving for U.S. companies producing and distributing high-quality, critical medical supplies around the world.”
The U.S. denies, however, that President Donald Trump’s decision to withhold funding from the World Health Organization will endanger lives on the African continent or interfere with other initiatives like polio eradication. “The WHO funding is a very – it’s actually a very small portion of what the United States gives in global health assistance to Africa and around the world,” the official said.
The U.S. does expect that African nations will begin to increase their own investment in health care, particularly in light of the COVID-19 crisis, but the official said work on a coronavirus vaccine continues and the U.S. government is evaluating the continent’s need for ventilators, personal protective equipment and other gear.
Image: University of Hong Kong file