By Chargé d’affaires Angela P. Aggeler
U.S. Embassy Pakistan
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the world. No country has been unaffected or untouched, including the United States and Pakistan. As partners, we have worked together both bilaterally and through the multilateral Global Health Security Agenda, for more than a year to fight this pandemic and prevent its spread. With the arrival of 1.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on May 8, we are one step closer to overcoming this crisis.
This vaccine shipment was made possible through COVAX, a global initiative to accelerate equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. Recognizing that a multilateral, collaborative approach is needed to end this pandemic, the United States is leading by example as the world’s largest single donor to COVAX. We have already provided $2 billion and pledged an additional $2 billion in support.
U.S. investments in COVAX support the purchase and delivery of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations in 92 low- and middle-income economies. This support is critical to controlling the pandemic, slowing the emergence of new variants, and helping to restart the global economy. The United States is committed to collaborating with international organizations, governments, and the private sector to support global COVID-19 vaccination efforts and to ensure COVAX’s success.
We are also pleased to join Pakistan’s Ministry of Health in the fight. The United States has worked closely with Pakistan since the start of the pandemic and has contributed more than $35 million in support of Pakistan’s response, in addition to our contributions to COVAX. This support included providing 200 ventilators for 64 Pakistani hospitals, which increased Pakistan’s respiratory care capacity by 30 percent, and training 400 healthcare workers on how to operate the ventilators. The U.S. Agency for International Development established provincial-level disease surveillance and response teams in all 155 districts across Pakistan and supported the reconfiguration of a “HealthAlert” phone application for healthcare workers to report new cases of COVID-19 in rural areas. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided critical technical assistance to strengthen surveillance, infection prevention and control, emergency operations, and outbreak response activities.
Longstanding health partnerships and investments in Pakistan have provided the technical expertise and critical infrastructure needed to bolster preparedness and rapidly respond to COVID-19 to control the pandemic and save lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that an infectious disease outbreak anywhere is a threat to people everywhere. This pandemic is one of the most pressing challenges to the health, well-being, and economic security of our time, and the global community must unite to continue a sustained and inclusive recovery. The United States remains committed to doing our part, in partnership with Pakistan.