LESOTHO will receive US$ 7, 5 million (about M105 million) towards fighting the Covid-19 pandemic from the United States.
This was announced by US ambassador to Lesotho, Maria Brewer at a recent event in Maseru also attended by US Peace Corps chief executive officer (CEO), Carol Spahn.
The ambassador said the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had committed to donate US$6, 2 million (M86, 8 million) to Lesotho. The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) will add another US$1, 3 million (M18, 2 million) to bring the total support to US$7, 5 million.
The funding will support activities such as bolstering the cold chain supply logistics of vaccines, addressing vaccine confidence and demand, and increasing the accessibility of vaccination sites. The funding will also support the monitoring of any critical illnesses caused by Covid-19 and will align with Lesotho’s existing vaccination plans.
Ms Brewer said USAID would also provide more resources to Lesotho through the Initiative for Global Vaccine Access, or Global VAX.
Global VAX is a US government led effort to contribute to the global goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the world’s population against Covid-19 by end of this year. It will upscale support and resources to increase access to Covid-19 vaccines in an initial group of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Lesotho.
Global VAX intends to increase assistance and strengthen international coordination to identify and rapidly overcome vaccine access barriers.
“Through the leadership of the government of Lesotho and the commitment and support of the US government, it is within Lesotho’s reach to put an end to the death and sickness brought by this pandemic, and with that, to renew the nation’s focus on building a brighter future,” Ms Brewer said.
Ms Spahn, who is visiting Lesotho to, among other things, highlight the US government’s engagement with Global VAX, added: “As we emerge from the Omicron variant that affected every country around the globe, we are reminded that none of us is safe until we are all safe”.
“We have a collective responsibility to counter misinformation and dispel vaccine myths, get vaccinated, and ensure the world does too. The Peace Corps is proud to partner with our US government, the government of Lesotho, and the citizens of Lesotho to turn vaccines in vials into shots in arms.”
In a statement this week, the US Embassy said Global VAX was building on US President Joe Biden’s commitment to donate more than 1, 2 billion vaccine doses around the world by the end of 2022.
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“To date, the US has already committed US$1, 7 billion to support vaccine readiness work. This initiative will provide a surge of resources to Lesotho.
“As part of this effort, the USAID plans to program an additional US$6, 2 million in Lesotho in addition to the more than US$12, 4 million that USAID has already allocated for the pandemic response in Lesotho. Separately, the CDC will contribute another US$1, 3 million to a base of US$6 million it has already invested since the start of the pandemic.”
Lesotho had made great strides to scale up its vaccination campaign in record time through the excellent leadership of the Health ministry and working together with the Education and Training ministry to extend Covid-19 vaccination to adolescents aged 12 to 17, the embassy said.
As of 9 March, 806 035 people had been fully vaccinated in Lesotho, representing 40, 3 percent of the total population.
“This percentage is even higher when we look at the total eligible population (12 years and older),” the embassy said.