DAVAO City —THE United States government on Friday, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Defense (DOD), delivered close to Php26.4 million ($528,000) worth of medical supplies and resources to bolster Davao City’s COVID-19 response.
U.S. Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires (CDA) ad interim Heather Variava handed over 10 intensive care unit (ICU) beds, four COVID-19 vaccine cold storage units, and other medical equipment and supplies to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio at the launch of Davao City’s community-based COVID-19 response.
“As a friend, partner, and ally, the United States is one with you in fighting COVID-19 and facilitating long-term initiatives that ensure health, peace, and prosperity in the southern Philippines,” said CDA Variava.
USAID partnered with the Davao City Health Office to develop a plan to facilitate fast, accessible, and free COVID-19 services by setting up eight COVID-19 Cluster Clinics in strategic locations. These clinics will provide effective and efficient triaging, testing, contact tracing, monitoring and management of COVID-19.
This new donation adds to the Php6.9 million ($138,600) worth of ICU beds and COVID-19 vaccine cold storage units that the U.S. DOD donated to the Philippines in October and November.
“These challenging times reinforce the strength of our partnership,” said Maj. Scott Holub, Special Operations Task Force 511.2 commanding officer. “Our donation to the COVID-19 Cluster Clinic represents our continued support to the southern Philippines in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The donated refrigerators bolster Davao’s efforts by providing the capacity to store 80,000 vaccines, while the ICU beds provide the capacity for extended patient care.”
Department of Health Assistant Secretary Dr. Roy B. Ferrer welcomed the support and partnership with the U.S. government.
“USAID assistance in improving local health system capacities—by engaging barangays stakeholders to strengthen prevention, detection, isolation, and referral to District Health Offices—proved vital in mitigating the spread of infection in the community,” he said. “USAID’s support in increasing capacity in case detection and testing are evident through the dispatch of mobile swabbing teams and provision of testing kits and supplies, which now includes the deployment of vaccination teams to far-flung areas.”
To date, the United States has provided more than Php1.9 billion ($39 million) to support the Philippines’ COVID-19 response.
Meanwhile, CDA Variava also visited the Philippine Eagle Center during her trip to Davao. USAID has been supporting the Philippine Eagle Foundation’s efforts to protect the Philippine eagle’s habitat in Mindanao. The U.S. Forest Service also supports eagle conservation efforts in Apayao province, a key breeding site in Northern Luzon.
The Philippine eagle, the national bird of the Philippines and the largest eagle in the world, has been close to extinction for 40 years, and only 400 pairs remain.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations in the Philippines and 60 years of partnership for development through USAID. For the past 60 years, USAID has partnered with the Philippine government and local organizations to achieve shared development goals, investing more than $5.1 billion to support the Philippines. |-BNN