Dominica has done an impressive job in handling the COVID-19 pandemic with just 31 cases recorded and no reported deaths. With strict protocols in place and a phased reopening of the economy, the government has kept the virus at bay and public health intact. The UK Government is doing its part to help Dominica maintain its effective management of the crisis. On Friday 16th October, alongside Canada and PAHO/WHO, the UK donated a large complement of personal protective equipment (PPE) for front line staff including well over 200,000 medical masks and N95 respirators.
The UK has contributed approximately 55 million EC dollars ($US20.5 million) to the PAHO regional response in the fight against the pandemic and its multiple effects. This includes support for testing, treatment, surveillance and public communication efforts. This handover is only one of several deliveries of critical management supplies being made.
The handover event was attended by the UK Development Director in the Caribbean, Stefan Kossoff, alongside Minister of Health Wellness and New Investment, The Hon. Dr. Irvine McIntyre, Permanent Secretary Mrs. Letitia Lestrade-Dyke, and representatives from PAHO and the Government of Canada. Mr Kossoff stated:
“I would like to commend the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica for its exemplary response to the Coronavirus crisis. In particular, I want to praise the hard work of the health officials and personnel who have been on the frontline protecting the citizens of Dominica for many months. You have done a superb job to keep case numbers down and prevent community spread.”
Mr Kossoff reiterated the value of cooperation in times of crisis and so was pleased to be working alongside PAHO, Canada and others to deliver this emergency health assistance. He reminded the audience however that the battle to defeat Covid-19 is not over as cases increase in many parts of the world, and the global community needs to stay focused on mitigating the health, social and economic impacts of the virus.
Mr. Kossoff also stated that the crisis has highlighted the importance of resilience-building in vulnerable countries like Dominica who face a range of health, economic and climate threats. The UK was therefore proud to be supporting, alongside the Government of Canada, the essential work of the Climate Resilience Execution Agency of Dominica (CREAD). This would make an important contribution to GoCD’s ambition to become the world’s first climate resilient nation. UK support is also being utilised to put climate resilience at the heart of Dominica’s physical infrastructure, including through projects to upgrade health facilities, roads, and the water supply system.
- The UK has pledged over £1 billion of aid to counter the health, humanitarian, and economic impacts of COVID-19, and to support the global effort to find a vaccine.
- COVID-19 is a protracted crisis that will play out over an extended period of time. Most vulnerable countries have not yet contained their epidemics. All over the world we are seeing the devastating impact of this invisible killer and the evidence shows that the impact on health, economies and society will hit the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries the hardest.
- HMG is using the full range of development, diplomatic, national security and prosperity tools to respond to the impact of COVID-19 in vulnerable countries.
- The UK development programme provides approximately £68 million of support to Dominica. This includes the following projects:
- The UK Caribbean Infrastructure Fund (Loubiere to Bagatelle Road Rehabilitation and Water Supply System upgrade);
- Strengthening Health Facilities programme (including retrofitting of La Plaine and Roseau Health Centres; Portsmouth Hospital; and Grand Bay Clinic)
- Support for The Climate Resilience Execution Agency of Dominica
- Support for Geothermal Development;
- Youth Skills for Growth programme