USAID, UNICEF donate tents to boost local Covid vaccination efforts

(From left) US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, Representative of UNICEF, Guyana and Suriname, Nicolas Pron and USAID Regional Representative, Clinton White

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on Wednesday donated 10 tents to the Ministry of Health to aid Guyana’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, MP said the health ministry made a request for tents to extend vaccination sites across the country. He said the tents will provide comfortable spaces for persons taking their vaccines.

“We have been renting some tents and it can easily run into the millions of dollars and so I think this donation of these tents would certainly help us to extend our service, to make sure that people who are coming to get vaccinated would be in a much more comfortable environment…

“We are very grateful and because of this we have been able to extend our programme and being able to roll-out the vaccination programme in such an effortless manner,” the Health Minister said.

Dr. Anthony also expressed gratitude to the Government of the United States for extending a strong partnership with Guyana, especially in the fight against COVID-19.

He added that UNICEF has been working with the Ministry to extend coverage on the vaccination of children and continues to assist in other areas.

United States (US) Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, said the distribution of the tents is the first public engagement under USAID’s vaccine assistance to Guyana, through UNICEF. She also noted that the US will continue to support Guyana in the vaccination roll-out campaign to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines across the country.

“I am very grateful to the minister and his leadership to encourage every Guyanese to get vaccinated and the ministry’s willingness to go where the people are and as we all know, travelling in the hinterland is not always easy.

“The United States is a partner in this regard since the very essence of our vaccine support in Guyana is to ensure that there is equitable and equal distribution of covid -19 vaccines to every Guyanese,” she said.

The ambassador also noted that this methodology will ensure vulnerable persons, including those with disabilities, financial constraints and transportation limitations will not be deterred in receiving their COVID-19 vaccines.

Meanwhile, Representative of UNICEF, Guyana and Suriname, Nicolas Pron said the agency is committed to continuing offering its support to Guyana during the pandemic.

“For well over a year now the pandemic has tested our global community like never before, responding and recovering call for collective effort. Thanks to the leadership of ministry of health and the support of partners such as USAID, this collective effort is evident in Guyana.

“UNICEF is committed to continuing our support to Guyana and going the extra mile to ensure a resilient recovery keeping in mind that no one is safe until everyone is safe.”

Pron also said UNICEF will continue to support the health ministry in community engagements, to reach persons who are still hesitant about vaccination, and support the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, among others.

USAID Regional Representative, Clinton White also attended the simple ceremony. The tents will be distributed across the country, especially to far flung communities to aid in the government’s vaccination drive.