Giving Compass’ Take:
• According to Jamie Bay Nishi, we’ll need much more involvement from USAID to stop the spread of coronavirus around the world.
• How can we help in the effort to get USAID more involved in the fight against the disease? What role can funders play in the global eradication of COVID-19?
As we contemplate our exit strategy from COVID-19, we need to keep one thing top of mind: The only victory against COVID-19 is a global victory. And winning that war will require a much bigger role for a star player from previous global health fights, the United States Agency for International Development. So far, the US Congress has overlooked the agency’s importance in innovation, something that can be remedied as lawmakers prepare a new round of COVID-19 appropriations.
The USAID Bureau for Global Health has not received commensurate resources, even though it has a long history of leading US government efforts to develop health innovations targeting the needs of LMICs.
With appropriate resources, USAID, working independently and in partnership with other US agencies, could be instrumental in spurring the development of COVID-19 tools such as:
- Heat-stable vaccines that don’t require constant refrigeration.
- Inexpensive, simple-to-operate medical devices. USAID is part of a new global effort to use $25 pulse oximeters to rapidly detect low blood-oxygen levels to help prevent pneumonia deaths in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
- Treatments that can be easily administered across large populations.
- Rapid point-of-care diagnostic tests that don’t require a separate laboratory. One COVID-19 test approved for emergency use can be run on an automated machine called GeneXpert. USAID already has been working with other donors to make this device more widely available in developing countries to increase access to tuberculosis testing.
USAID involvement in these and other global health innovations showcases a talent for tapping American science and ingenuity to deliver technologies that are as effective in poor communities as they are in wealthy ones.
Read the full article about USAID and coronavirus by Jamie Bay Nishi at Global Health NOW.
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