Photo: PAHO. Nurse wears a mask to protect against COVID-19 virus.

Washington, DC, August 6, 2020 (PAHO) – The Pan American Health Organization has leveraged the Strategic Fund for  Public Health Supplies to procure and distribute millions of COVID-19 diagnostic kits, Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), and other essential health supplies to countries throughout the Americas, a new report shows.

The Strategic Fund procured some USD$75 million worth of COVID-19 PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests for 6 countries, working with suppliers to purchase, deliver and distribute the supplies.

So far, over 10 million PCR tests have been sent to 6 countries. The fund also obtained PPEs including face shields, gloves, goggles, gowns, masks and respirators for 26 countries, valued at USD14.6 million.

Technical cooperation and pooled procurement form an important part of the Organization’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has spread to all 54 countries and territories in the Americas and has resulted in more than 9.9 million confirmed cases and over 372,000 deaths to date.

PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne recently stated, “Health emergencies are on the rise and programs like the PAHO Strategic Fund are critical for ensuring health systems that are resilient to outbreaks and other public health threats.”

The fund helps countries in the Americas “address new challenges by guaranteeing the continuous and efficient supply of essential medicines and health technologies in priority areas of both communicable and noncommunicable diseases,” she added.