Op-Ed from Chargé d’Affaires Brian Shukan on U.S. Leadership on Global Battle Against Covid-19

Op-Ed from Chargé d’Affaires Brian Shukan on U.S. Leadership on Global Battle Against Covid-19

04-27-2020, 01:26 PM

  » http://sudaneseonline.com/cgi-bin/esdb/2bb.cgi?seq=msg&board=10&msg=1587994011&rn=0

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Title: Op-Ed from Chargé d’Affaires Brian Shukan on U.S. Leadership on Global Battle Against Covid-19
Author: SudaneseOnline Press Release
Date: 04-27-2020, 01:26 PM

02:26 PM April, 27 2020

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The story of U.S. leadership in the global battle against COVID-19 is a story of days, months, and decades. Every day, new U.S. technical and material assistance arrives in hospitals and labs around the world. These efforts, in turn, build on a decades-long foundation of American expertise, generosity, and planning that is unmatched in history.

The United States provides aid for altruistic reasons, because we believe it’s the right thing to do. We also do it because pandemics don’t respect national borders. If we can help countries contain outbreaks, we’ll save lives abroad and at home in the United States.

That generosity and pragmatism explains why the United States was one of the first countries to help the Chinese people as soon as reports emerged from Wuhan of another outbreak. In early January, the United States Government offered immediate technical assistance to the Chinese Centers for Disease Control

In the first week of February, the United States transported nearly 18 tons of medical supplies to Wuhan provided by Samaritan’s Purse, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and other organizations. We also pledged $100 million
in assistance to countries to fight what would become a pandemic – including an offer to China, which was declined.

Our response now far surpasses that initial pledge. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the U.S. Government has committed nearly $500 million in assistance to date. This funding will improve public health education, protect health care facilities, and increase laboratory, disease-surveillance, and rapid-response capacity in more than 60 of the world’s most at-risk countries–all in an effort to help contain outbreaks before they reach our shores.

Our aid helps people in the most dire circumstances. For instance, the U.S. Government works with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to deliver medicines, medical supplies, and food to the Syrian people, including those living in regime-held areas. We are helping United Nations agencies and NGOs build more water, sanitation, and health facilities across northern Syria to prevent the spread of the virus. We are aiding friends from Africa to Asia, and beyond.

America’s unsurpassed contributions are also felt through the many international organizations fighting COVID-19 on the front lines.

The United States backed the U.N. Refugee Agency with nearly $1.7 billion in 2019. That’s more than all other member states combined, and more than four times the second-largest contributor, Germany.

Then there is the World Food Program, to which the United States gave $3.4 billion last year, or 42% of its total budget. That’s nearly four times the second-largest contributor, and more than all other member states combined. We also gave more than $700 million to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), more than any other donor.

We are proud that when these international organizations deliver food, medicines, and other aid all around the world, that too is largely thanks to the generosity of the American people, in partnership with donor nations.

Our country continues to be the single largest health and humanitarian donor for both long-term development and capacity building efforts with partners, and emergency response efforts in the face of recurrent crises. This money has saved lives, protected people who are most vulnerable to disease, built health institutions, and promoted the stability of communities and nations.

America funds nearly 40% of the world’s global health assistance programs, adding up to $140 billion in investments in the past 20 years – five times more than the next largest donor. Since 2009, American taxpayers have generously funded more than $100 billion in health assistance and nearly $70 billion in humanitarian assistance globally.

It’s also why we are providing $13.7 million to help Sudan respond to the COVID-19 outbreak with emergency health support and expanding access to water, sanitation, and hygiene, in addition to more than $414 million the U.S. Government has provided in humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people in Sudan, including refugees, since October 2018.

Of course, it isn’t just our government helping the world. American businesses, NGOs, and faith-based organizations have given at least $1.5 billion to fight the pandemic overseas. American companies are innovating new technologies for vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and ventilators. This is American exceptionalism at its finest.

As we have time and time again, the United States will aid others during their time of greatest need. The COVID-19 pandemic is no different. We will continue to help countries build resilient health care systems that can prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks. Just as the United States has made the world more healthy, peaceful, and prosperous for generations, so will we lead in defeating our shared pandemic enemy, and rising stronger in its wake.