PESHAWAR: The United States, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), mobilized an airlift of critical health supplies that arrived on Saturday in Pakistan to help save lives, stop the spread of COVID-19, and meet the urgent health needs of the country.

The airlift to Pakistan contributes critically needed and requested emergency medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE), pulse oximeters, and other supplies. The USAID will complement these supplies with technical assistance on their use and maintenance, says a press release.

“Today, the United States continues our proud partnership with the Government of Pakistan in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said US Embassy Chargé d’affaires Lesslie Viguerie.

“Throughout this struggle, we have worked together to provide resources and relief to those suffering and to help those on the frontlines of this pandemic. Pakistan is not alone in its fight against the coronavirus.”

Since the start of the outbreak in early 2020, USAID has been working to save lives and contain the pandemic in more than 120 countries, including Pakistan.  USAID’s ongoing assistance provides emergency relief, strengthens health systems, supports vaccine readiness and distribution, improves public health education, and protects health care workers and facilities.

The US government has allocated more than $40 million to Pakistan for COVID-19 response assistance, including a donation of 200 ventilators to care for COVID-19 patients.  This support has benefited more than 2.5 million Pakistanis across the country, providing life-saving treatments, strengthening case-finding and surveillance, and mobilizing innovative financing to bolster emergency preparedness.

USAID’s assistance also includes a $2 billion contribution to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to support the purchase and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to 92 low and middle-income countries, with another $2 billion commitment planned by 2022.  This contribution to Gavi’s COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, also known as COVAX, is supporting equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations, including frontline health care workers.  In May, Pakistan received 1.2 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses and 100,000 Pfizer doses as part of that COVAX effort.

Pakistan has started vaccination to all people above the age of 19 years.