Biden-Harris Administration details emergency COVID-19 assistance being rendered to India

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Madhuriben S Parmar reacts with an oxygen mask on as she speaks to her family on a video call while lying in an ambulance waiting to enter a COVID-19 hospital for treatment, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ahmedabad, India, April 28, 2021. REUTERS/Amit Dave

The White House, in a press release April 28, 2021, detailed the assistance it is rendering to India during the second wave of Covid-19 crisis in that country.

Meanwhile, according to a news report in Politico, the President Biden’s decision to send millions of doses of AstrraZeneca vaccines to India to tackle the surge, is facing some opposition at the top, “with many arguing that the government cannot reduce its stockpile of doses on hand given recent disruptions in U.S. vaccine production.”

The first tranche of the assistance is valued at more than $100 million going in the coming days to provide urgent relief to partners in India, the White House Fact Sheet said.

In addition, state governments, private companies, non-government organizations, and thousands of Americans from across the country have mobilized to deliver vital oxygen, related equipment, and essential supplies for Indian hospitals to support frontline health care workers and the people of India most affected during the current outbreak, the Fact Sheet from the White House said.

Flights carrying U.S. Government assistance are expected to start arriving in India on Thursday, April 29 and will continue into next week.

“Just as India sent assistance to the United States when our hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, the United States is determined to help India in its time of need,” the Biden Administration reiterated.

A man waits outside a factory to get his oxygen cylinder refilled, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New Delhi, India, April 28, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

List of the immediate U.S. emergency COVID-19 assistance detailed by the White House is as follows:

— Oxygen Support:  An initial delivery of 1,100 cylinders will remain in India and can be repeatedly refilled at local supply centers, with more planeloads to come.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also locally procured oxygen cylinders and will deliver them to support hospital systems in coordination with the Government of India.

— Oxygen Concentrators: 1700 oxygen concentrators to obtain oxygen from ambient air, these mobile units provide options for flexible patient treatment.

— Oxygen Generation Units (PSA Systems): Multiple large-scale units to support up to 20 patients each, and additional mobile units will provide an ability to target specific shortages. A team of U.S. experts will support these units, working hand-in-hand on the ground with Indian medical personnel.

— Personal Protective Equipment: 15 million N95 masks to protect both patients and Indian health care person4.nel.

— Vaccine-Manufacturing Supplies:  The U.S. has re-directed its own order of Astra Zeneca manufacturing supplies to India.  This will allow India to make over 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

— Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs):  1 million rapid diagnostic tests – the same type used by the White House — to provide reliable results in less than 15 minutes to help identify and prevent community spread.

— Therapeutics:  The first tranche of a planned 20,000 treatment courses of the antiviral drug remdesivir to help treat hospitalized patients.

— Public Health Assistance: U.S. CDC experts will work hand-in- hand with India’s experts in the following areas: laboratory, surveillance and epidemiology, bioinformatics for genomic sequencing and modeling, infection prevention and control, vaccine rollout, and risk communication.

From the outset of the pandemic the U.S. has been supporting India in a number of areas, the White House said.

Healthcare workers and relatives carry Shashikantbhai Parekh, a patient with breathing problem, out from an ambulance for treatment at a COVID-19 hospital, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ahmedabad, India, April 28, 2021. REUTERS/Amit Dave

To date, according to the Fact Sheet, U.S. COVID-19 assistance has reached more than 9.7 million Indians across more than 20 states and union territories, providing life-saving treatments, disseminating public health messages to local communities; strengthening case-finding and surveillance; and mobilizing innovative financing mechanisms to bolster emergency preparedness.

This has included partnering with more than 1,000 Indian healthcare facilities to strengthen preparedness, including training of more than 14,000 people on infection prevention and control.

The partnership has helped keep more than 213,000 frontline workers safe — including risk mitigation training for doctors, nurses, midwives, community volunteers, sanitation workers, and others who are actively responding to COVID-19 in India.

The U.S. helped launch joint public messaging with UNICEF on COVID prevention that has reached more than 84 million people, and provided 200 state-of-the-art ventilators to 29 healthcare facilities in 15 states to care for critically-ill COVID-19 patients.

For the last seventy years, the White House Fact Sheet notes, U.S. public health experts from across the government, including USAID, HHS, CDC, FDA, and NIH, have worked in partnership with Indian officials to improve the health of India’s most vulnerable communities and the well-being of its people.

Over the last 20 years, U.S. foreign assistance to India has exceeded $2.8 billion, including more than $1.4 billion for health care.

The United States, India, and other partners have worked together to reduce new HIV infections by 37 percent between 2010 and 2019.

Since 1998, the United States and India have worked together to combat tuberculosis (TB) through improved patient-centered diagnosis, treatment and prevention, helping treat 15 million people with the disease.

In the last five years, the United States has helped 40 million pregnant women receive vital health information and services,, the Fact Sheet said.

The United States, in partnership with the Government of India and World Health Organization, has supported initiatives at the District, State and National level to build frontline disease detection capacity.

On the global level, the United States and India are working together to advance health security and fight outbreaks before they become pandemics, the White House noted.

 

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