CDC commits $3.6 million to help India’s fight against COVID-19
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will fund Indian partners for prevention, preparedness and response activities, according to the US Embassy.
On May 12, the US Embassy released a statement confirming the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) $3.6 million aid towards India’s coronavirus response.
“This initial tranche of funding will seek to further strengthen and support the Government of India’s efforts to increase laboratory capacity for SARS-COV-2 testing, including molecular diagnostics and serology,” said the Embassy’s press statement.
Additionally, the corpus will be directed towards the development of centres of excellence specialising in infection prevention and control which will help hospital networks detect COVID-19. Already the CDC has been training healthcare administrators, physicians, nurses and hospital staff across India on preparedness and response, infection prevention and control, laboratory operations, and field epidemiology to equip frontline response workers with the necessary skills.
With this fund, the federal agency will work further with local health systems to strengthen surveillance and monitoring systems and emergency management capacities. These partners will be better equipped to fight against not only this pandemic but future outbreaks as well with well-planned health emergency operations centres. It will also be working with the Government on India’s crisis and risk communication efforts.
The statement has not revealed which institutions will be receiving the funds although only those registered under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act are eligible. But a report in the Hindu has pointed out that there might be delays in the disbursement of these funds as CDC has been on the FCRA watch list since December 2019, which means it can’t directly send funds to any governmental or non-governmental body without the approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The CDC has been routinely collaborating with governments and other entities in India on responses HIV, TB, malaria, polio eradication to influenza and other pandemic diseases. In October last year, CDC’s funding of a laboratory in Manipal was flagged. The funds were for an unapproved project on the Nipah virus, which is considered a potential bio-weapon, according to the report in the Hindu.
This is the latest in the line of aid coming in from the US following the outbreak of the pandemic. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has given $5.9 million to India so far towards fighting the outbreak, caring for the affected and other containment efforts like public health messaging, case detection and surveillance, the US Embassy said in the same statement.