Factsheet:  U.S. Government Health and Humanitarian Assistance to Myanmar for COVID-19 Response

Factsheet:  U.S. Government Health and Humanitarian Assistance to Myanmar for COVID-19 Response

Updated as of July 29, 2020

The U.S. Government is providing nearly $19 million to support Myanmar’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This funding from the American people includes approximately $10.3 million for health, $8.2 million in disaster and humanitarian assistance, including to support vulnerable people and host communities during the pandemic, and nearly $2 million for infectious disease surveillance and epidemiology efforts.  This assistance especially for COVID-19 response comes on top of long-term U.S. Government investments in Myanmar that total more than $1.3 billion over the past 20 years, including more than $176 million for health.

Health Assistance

USAID/Burma’s COVID-19 Health Response Activities

USAID/Burma is providing a total of $8.3 million in Health funding for COVID-19 response activities since February 2020 noted below. Additionally, USAID donated 31,500 surgical masks, 1,500 each of face shields, face masks, gowns, and shoe covers, and 1,000 safety goggles. This donation was delivered to the Union Minister of Health and Sports on March 6.

In April and May 2020, USAID provided $6.5 million in COVID supplemental funding to the multi-donor Access to Health Fund for:

a) prevention activities to protect community members and health care workers;

b) detection activities to enable early detection, contact tracing, tracking of migrant-returnees, and point-of-entry planning;

c) early response activities to support infected individuals;

d) system strengthening activities to prevent, detect, and respond appropriately to COVID19, and to protect routine essential services from being disrupted;

e) gender-based violence activities; and

f) to ensure continued delivery of essential health services, including those for infectious diseases and maternal, newborn and child health

USAID assistance through this fund has already supported 350 health facilities and community quarantine centers and facilitated reaching 135,275 people through community-based surveillance work including contact tracing and fever testing. During this period, 43 suspected cases were referred to health facilities and 256 specimens transported from quarantine sites in hard-to-reach and conflict-affected areas to testing facilities.

USAID allocated $1.8 million of its Emergency Response Fund to Myanmar through existing global agreements with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the Breakthrough Action activity, implemented in Myanmar by Save the Children, for health activities beginning in late March.

  • Myanmar’s National Health Laboratory tested the first 3,000 samples and tracked COVID-19 suspected and confirmed cases and contacts with USAID support to the WHO allocated in March. This U.S. funding through WHO is also supporting the Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS) to protect health workers from infection and provide access to information and resources to protect themselves and patients, and to continue delivery of routine critical services.
  • With USAID support to UNICEF, more than five million people have received targeted, accurate information on COVID-19 through UNICEF’s work with MOHS. USAID’s support has also resulted in donations of 29,995 N95 masks for health providers across 195 health facilities in conflict-affected parts of Kachin, Eastern and Northern Shan State, of which over 60 percent were provided to non-government Ethnic and Community Based Health Organizations serving conflict-affected and contested areas.
  • More than 1.9 million people received information about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection in the first two weeks of a nationwide “Protect Together” COVID-19 awareness campaign launched in June. The “Protect Together” campaign uses six different languages to reach communities in Myanmar. This work is supported through USAID’s Breakthrough Action partner in Myanmar, Save the Children.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Since 2015 the U.S. CDC has provided technical assistance to the National Health Lab in HIV virology and serology scaleup, test validation, data management, biosafety, quality management systems, ISO 15189 accreditation, and in-kind material support for measles, rubella, and influenza testing reagents.

  • For COVID-19, the U.S. CDC  has announced it will provide $1.95 million to support the MOHS’ field epidemiology training program and COVID-19 surveillance and epidemiology efforts.
  • The U.S. CDC is working in close collaboration with the MOHS’ key units responding to the pandemic, including the Central Epidemiology Unit and the National Health Laboratory to provide technical assistance, both remotely and through in-person consultations, with a regional US CDC team in February.
  • The U.S. CDC is providing both bilateral technical assistance from its offices in Yangon and Bangkok, and through multilateral technical and development partners, like working through the WHO-coordinated, MOHS-led COVID-19 response, specifically in the Laboratory Testing & Surveillance, and Clinical Management & Infection Control working groups.
  • Additionally, the U.S. CDC is launching several new regional capacity-building programs managed out of the Southeast Asia Regional office, which will  strengthen Myanmar’s laboratory systems in biosafety and quality management, public health emergency preparedness, response and management capacity, port of entry screening for mobile populations, such as migrant workers, and One Health activities, which help prevent and detect future zoonotic outbreaks.
  • This work builds on longstanding cooperation with MOHS, including the inaugural Field Epidemiology Training Program (FETP) in Myanmar in 2018.  Myanmar’s Field Epidemiology Training Program graduated 15disease detectives” in 2019 who are now contributing in meaningful and substantial ways to Myanmar’s COVID-19 response.

In addition, the United States government has provided test kits and supplies to Myanmar through the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS), a joint U.S.-Thai collaboration, and other donors to Myanmar’s National Health Laboratory.

Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid Appropriations (OHDACA) funding from the Department of Defense

The Ministry of Health and Sports and a military-run hospital will receive personal protective equipment (PPE) worth $90,000 to mitigate or prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Myanmar through humanitarian, disaster, and civic aid assistance managed by the U.S. Department of Defense.  The U.S. government purchased surgical masks and gloves – purchased locally in Myanmar.

Out of the $90,000, approximately $67,500 worth of surgical masks and gloves will be donated to the Ministry of Health and Sports. The remainder will be donated to the No. 1 Defense Services Medical Hospital in Yangon.

In addition, the United States has provided test kits and supplies to Myanmar through the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (AFRIMS), a joint U.S.-Thai collaboration, and other donors to Myanmar’s National Health Laboratory.

Humanitarian Assistance

The total U.S. assistance to Myanmar for COVID-19 response of over $18.5 million includes $6 million of USAID humanitarian assistance funding to help save lives through:

  • Additional provision of water and sanitation supplies, including soap and handwashing stations to address water shortages and support hygiene for vulnerable populations, including those people living in IDP camps;
  • Provision of critical cleaning supplies in areas with high risk of COVID-19 spread;
  • Child protection and psychosocial services, including support to children affected by quarantine; and
  • Prevention of and response to gender-based violence exacerbated by the stresses caused by COVID-19 on families and the economy.

In addition, nearly $2.2 million in U.S. government humanitarian assistance to support the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) preliminary appeal, “The Operational Response to COVID-19.” ICRC’s global COVID response efforts help support vital health infrastructure, ensure that communities have access to clean water and hygiene practices, prevent the spread of disease in places of detention, provide forensics guidance, facilitate collaboration with International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement partners to contribute to global and local COVID-19 response, and sustain activities that build resilience for vulnerable people and communities, including in Myanmar.

For more information about USAID’s and CDC’s global response to COVID-19, please visit: https://www.usaid.gov/coronavirus-covid-19 and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/global-covid-19/global-response.html.