The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has pledged Ksh705 million ($6.6 million) to the Kenyan government for coronavirus(COVID-19) activities in the East African country.
The U.S. Embassy in Kenya said in a statement on Tuesday that these additional funds will be used for surveillance, laboratory supplies and strengthening, and surge staffing costs.
“Just a couple of days ago, President Trump made his first call to Africa, and the big news is that that call went to President Kenyatta,” Ambassador McCarter said.
“We have a special friendship, they have a special relationship and Kenya is special to the United States. You know we are working on a free trade agreement, we are working on helping with Covid-19, and we are going to be spending Ksh 705 million on Covid,” he added.
Nearly $1.8 million (Ksh.192 million) will be immediately released to support critical needs for the COVID-19 response in Kenya, the Embassy said.
The funds will be used in procuring diagnostic sampling and testing supplies, provide county-level support, expand surveillance of COVID-19, and support health care workers in infection prevention and control practices among other key activities.
“This funding builds on CDC’s long-standing global investments to control HIV, TB and malaria, eradicate polio, prepare for influenza and other pandemic diseases. For more than 40 years, CDC has supported Kenya’s Ministry of Health (MOH) to improve health security, which have laid foundations to rapidly and effectively prepare for emerging disease threats, including the current COVID-19 pandemic. With an annual investment of more than Ksh60 billion in annual support to Kenya’s health sector, USA Marifiki has been committed to the health of Kenyans well before COVID-19.
“However, our commitment goes beyond funding – it’s in our contribution to national policies, to investing in the healthcare workforce and to strengthening health systems. We have been working alongside Kenya’s public health officials for more than five decades and continue to stand with Kenya throughout this crisis,” said U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter.
Since early January 2020, CDC has deployed nearly 50 Kenya-based technical experts to support Kenya to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The U.S Embassy said these CDC employees work side-by-side with Kenyan health officials at the national laboratory, county government offices, and the Public Health Emergency Operations Center in a range of activities.
- supporting trainings on preparedness and response measures at the national and county levels
- Providing technical assistance on emergency operations, laboratory diagnostics, infection prevention and control, screening at ports of entry, risk communication and community engagement, and disease surveillance
- Supporting the training of field epidemiologists (disease detectives) and giving them the necessary skills to collect, analyze and interpret data and contribute to evidence-based decisions.