Islamabad:The United States, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), mobilised an airlift of COVID-19 Antigen rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) that arrived in Pakistan to help efficient diagnosis of COVID-19, and enable the country to respond to urgent health needs.
The donation was formally received by Special Assistant to Prime Minister, Dr. Faisal Sultan in a ceremony at Islamabad. In his remarks on the occasion, Dr. Sultan said, “We are thankful to the USAID for donating these rapid antigen tests”. He also recalled that this effort is a reflection of the warm relations between the two countries.
On the occasion, the USAID Mission Director, Julie Koenen said, “These RDTs will serve Pakistan needs of quick surveillance, diagnosis and keeping spread of COVID-19 to the lowest levels.” Since the start of the outbreak in early 2020, USAID has been working to save lives and contain the pandemic in more than 120 countries, including Pakistan. USAID’s ongoing assistance provides emergency relief, strengthens health systems, supports vaccine readiness and distribution, improves public health education, and protects health care workers and facilities.
The US Government has allocated more than $40 million to Pakistan for COVID-19 response assistance, including a donation of 200 ventilators to care for COVID-19 patients, personal protective equipment and pulse oximeters. This support has benefited Pakistanis across the country, providing life-saving treatments, strengthening case-finding and surveillance, and mobilising innovative financing to bolster emergency preparedness. USAID’s assistance also includes a $2 billion contribution to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to support the purchase and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries, with another $2 billion commitment planned by 2022.
This contribution to Gavi’s COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, also known as COVAX, is supporting equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations, including frontline health care workers. Pakistan has also received 5.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine as part of that COVAX effort.