‘White House type’ Covid test kits coming to India from today

Mumbai:  Two days after US President Joe Biden’s pledge to help, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Covid-19 emergency aid materials shall start landing in New Delhi from Thursday onwards, an official spokesperson said here on Thursday.

This would include 10,00,000 Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs), the same used by the White House, to provide reliable results in less than 15 minutes to identity the virus and prevent community spread.

The first consignment on the world’s largest military aircraft would bring 440 oxygen cylinders and regulators donated by the State of California, plus 9,60,000 Rapid Diagnostic Tests and 100,000 N95 masks for the India’s frontline healthcare teams.

“The US has stood shoulder to shoulder with India for more than 70 years and will continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic together. Just as India sent assistance to the United States when U.S. hospitals were strained early in the pandemic, we are now helping India during its time of need,” said the spokesperson.

The latest announcement builds on USAID’s earlier assistance of over $23 million which directly reached 10 million Indians, and it now delivering supplies worth over $100 million in the next few days to this country.

Among the materials being sent are 1,100 refillable oxygen cylinders with more to arrive later for hospitals, 1,700 medical oxygen concentrators for 320 primary healthcare facilities, Oxygen Generation Units which can support upto 20 patients each, while the US Center for Disease Control & Prevention has also procured locally oxygen cylinders and will deliver them to local hospitals, besides support of US experts.

The USAID will also send 15 million N95 masks for patients and healthcare professionals, divert its own order of AstraZeneca vaccines manufacturing supplies to India to enable manufacture over 20 million doses of Covid-19 jabs here, and an initial tranche of 20,000 Remdesivir doses for patients here.

The US has already worked closely with India across 20 states and Union Territories partnering with more than 1,000 healthcare facilities, training 14,000-plus people at different levels, including laboratory, surveillance and epidemiology, emergency preparedness, bioinformatics, infection prevention and control, vaccine rollout and risk communication, besides keeping over 2,13,000 frontline workers safety.

The USAID-UNICEF also launched joint messaging on Covid prevention that reached more than 84 million people supplied 200 modern ventilators to 29 hospitals in 15 states for the critically ill patients, etc.

In the past 20 years, the US foreign assistance to India has exceeded $2.80 billion, including more than 1.40 billion for healthcare alone through various agencies like USAID, HHS, CDC, FDA and NIH, aimed at the wellbeing of the most vulnerable communities in the country.


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