Sierra Leone Telegraph: 20 August 2021:
The United States government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has announced it will provide $1 million in urgent COVID-19 assistance to Sierra Leone.
The government of Sierra Leone is facing serious financial shortfall, as donor countries cut their aid budget to Sierra Leone, amid falling taxation receipts and declining export revenue.
NACOVERC – the national agency responsible for managing the pandemic prevention programme, as well as several programmes delivered by ministries and departments (MDAs) are facing huge budget cuts as the economy continues to slow down.
According to the statement released yesterday by the US government, “equitable global access to safe and effective vaccines is essential to ending the pandemic. To stop the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, people must be vaccinated. This assistance will support the Government of Sierra Leone in implementing its National Vaccine Deployment Plan and ensuring that all vaccines made available to the country through the COVAX mechanism are administered safely, effectively, and efficiently, with zero wastage.”
Announcing this new funding U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone, David Reimer, noted that: “The impact from this assistance will be felt across the country, as communities in all 16 districts will be engaged to educate people on the importance of getting vaccinated and work to ensure that the most vulnerable amongst us are protected.”
According to the statement: “This assistance from the historic American Rescue Plan builds on more than $7.2 million in direct COVID-19 assistance to Sierra Leone from the United States since the pandemic first began, mainly in the form of food security and livelihood support, emergency response activities, preventive hygiene promotion, and vaccine support.
“In addition, to end the spread of COVID-19 and prevent dangerous variants, the United States, through USAID, is contributing $4 billion to support COVAX — a global effort to provide safe and effective vaccines for 92 low- and middle-income countries. These efforts build on decades of life-saving work and U.S. leadership in tackling global health crises. Over the past 60 years, USAID has saved millions of lives from diseases such as Ebola, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and now COVID-19.
“Diseases know no borders. The U.S. is committed to partnering with Sierra Leone to end the COVID-19 pandemic, mitigate its devastating social and economic impacts, and build back a world that is even better prepared for future outbreaks,” the statement reads.