As part of the global COVID-19 response, the United States announced an initial tranche of $6 million for the Democratic Republic of the Congo to provide health-related support and supplies and to bolster water and sanitation activities. The U.S. already has top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) experts working alongside Dr. JJ Muyembe and Minister of Health Eteni Longondo as part of the Congolese Coronavirus response. In fact, CDC recently trained 300 Congolese epidemiologists who are capable of taking on COVID-19 responsibilities. Plus, the United States, through USAID, contributed $1.5 million in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Fondation Merieux to establish the new Institut National de Recherche Biomedicale (INRB) lab in Goma that will be able to do rapid diagnostic testing for a variety of diseases in Eastern Congo. This is just one example of USAID’s health investment of more than $200 million per year in disease fighting programs. These programs reach 33.4 million Congolese, directly contributing to provincial and community-level preparedness and to enhance the Congolese capability to confront this new COVID-19 challenge. Under our Privileged Partnership for Peace and Prosperity, the United States will continue to evaluate Government of DRC requests for assistance to determine how we can best continue to support its efforts against this invisible enemy. We are in this fight together.
The United States has a long, generous history of investing in the health and welfare in the DRC. The United States has provided nearly $1.6 billion specifically in health and nearly $6.5 billion total over the past 20 years. Our U.S.-funded emergency and development health assistance is helping bring to an end the Ebola outbreak in Eastern Congo, and has helped combat the persistent scourge of endemic diseases, such as malaria and measles. Our annual $20 million investment in water and sanitation has played a key role in preventing disease. Furthermore, thanks to America’s PEPFAR program to respond to HIV/AIDS, 130,000 Congolese receive life-saving treatment and benefit from improvements in initial disease detection. We are also looking to realize President Tshisekedi’s vision of establishing a Congolese institution equivalent to the U.S. CDC to build upon the DRC’s vast expertise in responding to disease epidemics.
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