For more than a half century, the United States has been the largest contributor to global health security, saving lives all over the planet. We support countries battling HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious diseases, we have led the fight against Ebola, and we are leading the fight against COVID-19.
The U.S. government, through the generosity of the American taxpayer, contributed more than $140 billion in global health assistance in the 21st century alone. In recent years, we have provided an average of $10 billion per year.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the U.S. government alone has allocated more than $10 billion in financial, humanitarian, technical, and scientific support to combat the crisis. Of this total, the United States is in the process of providing more than $2.4 billion in global health, humanitarian, and economic assistance. These funds are being provided through the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help more than 120 countries prevent and control infection, bolster health screening, communicate risks to citizens, and coordinate readiness and response efforts.
Cameroon has long benefited from U.S. health assistance: strengthening Cameroon’s health system is a top U.S. priority for our bilateral relationship. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had invested close to half a billion dollars to fight HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and other infectious diseases in Cameroon. In January this year, in response to the historic commitment by the government of Cameroon to eliminate fees for all HIV services at public health facilities and accredited community sites, the United States tripled HIV/AIDS assistance to over $97 million for 2020 (approximately 57 billion CFA). This supports provision of antiretroviral treatment, testing for HIV, and provision of care and support for orphans, vulnerable children, and their caregivers. Since 2018 the U.S. government has invested $65 million and worked in collaboration with Cameroon’s National Malaria Control Program to provide medications and other items including long-lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets for preventing and treating malaria.
Now, while maintaining our efforts in HIV and malaria, our health partnership is also focused on helping Cameroon respond to COVID-19. In addition to over $20 million of assistance in the last three months, U.S. disease experts are working side-by-side with Cameroonian officials, providing technical expertise to boost Cameroon’s response.
The Embassy’s office of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDC) is providing technical expertise to the Ministry of Public Health and co-leading response efforts to control the COVID-19 outbreak and prevent further spread of infection. The United States funded construction of Cameroon’s Public Health Emergency Operation Center – the first in Central Africa – and USCDC has trained over 800 Cameroonian field epidemiologists, or “disease detectives” currently working in all regions of the country, and nine Public Health Emergency Management specialists, who are leading the Ministry of Public Health’s response to COVID-19.
The U.S. Agency for International Development is also supporting Ministry of Public Health efforts to decentralize the COVID-19 response to all ten regions of the country, strengthening laboratory capacity, and developing and deploying communication tools to inform people how to protect themselves and others.
Since 2014, the United States has invested over $45 million to strengthen Cameroon’s ability to respond to infectious disease outbreaks, building the capacity of laboratories throughout the country and facilitating their international accreditation to ensure quality diagnostic standards. U.S. health assistance to strengthen laboratory systems has contributed to Cameroon’s capacity to do COVID-19 testing.
Helping Cameroon improve health outcomes is a priority area for U.S. assistance. We will continue to help Cameroon build a resilient health care system that can prevent, detect, and respond effectively to infectious disease outbreaks.