India remains one of the top recipients of U.S. foreign assistance, much of it being economic. Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), one of the leading global aid agencies, the U.S. committed $2.9 million to strengthen India’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. USAID created a health system strengthening project implemented by Jhpiego, a global nonprofit health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. The project intends to develop risk communication materials concerning COVID-19 and its potential spread to communities in 12 Indian states. Funding during the pandemic from USAID helps India provide care and treatment for those affected, safety equipment for healthcare workers and support for local communities so that they can contain and slow the spread of the virus.
USAID Helps India by Providing Supplies
USAID shipped 100 new compact and deployable ventilators to India to treat patients across the country. The units have a value of almost $1.2 million. USAID is also providing support packages that include equipment for the ventilators and additional medical supplies, technical assistance and service plans to respond to India’s urgent needs. USAID is working with organizations within India such as the Indian Red Cross Society to ensure that the ventilators are transported safely and securely to health care facilities around the country.
Partnerships for Affordable Healthcare Access and Longevity (PAHAL)
In coordination with the Government of India, USAID is giving funds to the Partnerships for Affordable Healthcare Access and Longevity (PAHAL). PAHAL is an innovative project by USAID and IPE Global that serves to promote health financing models and provide support for improving access to quality and affordable healthcare solutions for urban poor communities in India. PAHAL reduced healthcare costs and reached more than 10 million urban poor in India. The project’s sustainable development goals have helped to mitigate the negative health and socioeconomic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. PAHAL also improved economic growth in targeted areas and reduced income and gender inequalities faced by many cities’ poorest communities.
With the PAHAL project, USAID supports the National Health Authority’s establishment of a financing facility that can utilize and transfer private sector resources to health facilities across India that are enrolled in the country’s health insurance, positively impacting around 500 million poor and vulnerable people. PAHAL’s widespread, positive impact is one of the primary ways USAID helps India combat COVID-19.
The Partnership of the US and India
The U.S. has been the world’s biggest bilateral assistance provider in public health. Over the last two decades, the U.S. government provided more than $2.8 billion in total health assistance. USAID’s additional funding to India during the coronavirus pandemic is a testament to the two nations’ enduring partnership and commitment to global health. This new grant will support the World Health Organization’s various initiatives in India. By giving quality tools to local communities, USAID helped slow the spread and severity of COVID-19. USAID’s action stems not only from the relationship between the U.S. and India but also the realization that “an infectious-disease threat anywhere can become a threat everywhere.”
– Mia McKnight