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7 Ways USAID is Helping Contain Coronavirus Overseas
April 8, 2020

U.S. investments in global health security save lives


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An infectious disease threat anywhere can be a threat everywhere. The United States is the most generous nation in the world when it comes to humanitarian assistance. We will lead the global response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) — even as we battle it on the home front.

Across the globe, USAID is supporting countries affected by COVID-19. We are working directly with governments, multilateral organizations, NGOs, the private sector, and other organizations responding on the ground to combat the pandemic. This includes working with frontline workers to slow the spread, care for the affected, and equip local communities with the tools needed to fight back against COVID-19.

USAID and the State Department have made available nearly $274 million to combat COVID-19. This commitment demonstrates strong U.S. leadership in response to the outbreak. More than $2 billion — which Congress provided to USAID and the State Departments — is being put to work to save lives. Along with the U.S. private sector, the American people continue to lead in responding to this pandemic.

The funding will be provided for 64 of the world’s most at-risk countries facing the threat of this global pandemic.

The U.S. Government is providing these funds to the World Health Organization (WHO), other multilateral institutions, and programs led by USAID’s implementing partners. We call on other donors to join us and contribute to the effort to combat COVID-19.

Here are seven ways USAID is helping contain the spread of the novel coronavirus overseas:

1.) Case management

USAID is helping countries strengthen clinical care while minimizing the risk of onwards transmission to others. For example, in Mongolia, USAID’s response includes helping the Ministry of Health provide quality patient care.

2.) Infection prevention and control

USAID is helping countries like Bangladesh prevent and control infections in health care facilities.

3.) Laboratory strengthening

USAID has helped strengthen animal health laboratories in more than 15 countries across Asia and Africa, helping to improve the detection and response to deadly zoonotic diseases (which can spillover from animals to people). Now, USAID is helping countries prepare laboratory systems for large-scale testing of COVID-19. For example, in the Philippines, U.S. assistance will strengthen specimen transport systems and laboratory capacity to accurately and rapidly detect cases.

A laboratory in the Philippines tests for TB. / Photography by Keith Mark Dador and Rozelle Laurice Carlos for USAID

4.) Points-of-entry public health screening

USAID is helping countries implement emergency plans to screen people arriving at countries’ various points of entry, such as airports and land-border crossings. In Ethiopia, USAID is training airline staff to recognize COVID-19 symptoms.

5.) Communications

USAID educates countries’ populations on steps they can take to prevent and respond to the spread of the virus through country-specific media campaigns. For example, in Burma we are supporting UNICEF on risk communications, and through our Breakthrough Action program, amplifying the spread of messaging and materials through Save the Children’s extensive network of local partners. In South Africa, USAID is bolstering risk communication and working with local communities to help prepare and protect individuals, families, and public health.

6.) Surveillance and rapid response

USAID is helping countries improve case-finding and event-based surveillance for COVID-19. USAID is also helping countries like Iraq train and support rapid-response teams to investigate cases and conduct contact tracing.

With USAID support, families in Madagascar have access to safe and reliable water near their homes and have learned the importance of washing their hands before eating. / Photography by Anne Daugherty and Amy Fowler, USAID

7.) Water, sanitation, and hygiene

USAID has helped a number of countries increase access to safe drinking water and sanitation services. USAID programs promote key hygiene behaviors like washing your hands.

Follow this link to stay updated on USAID’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.


How to Help:

  • If you want to donate or volunteer time or services, please visit the USAID Center for International Disaster Information’s website at cidi.org. The CIDI website also provides information for private sector organizations interested in supporting response efforts.
  • Like all emergency responses, the best way for the public to help is by donating cash. Cash donations are the most efficient form of assistance. Unlike material donations, cash involves no transportation costs, shipping delays, or customs fees. It also enables relief organizations to spend more time providing aid by spending less time managing goods.
  • You can find a list of USAID partner organizations responding to the crisis at cidi.org.
  • The United Nations supports an initiative for businesses seeking to donate money, goods, or services. Please visit connectingbusiness.org for more information.