As Covid-19 ‘hotspots’ continue to surge, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced that it will invest $345m in various schemes to ensure that affected areas receive potentially life-saving support including $50m to expand access to essential oxygen supplies.

The support will also take the form of vaccine assistance and prioritising ‘rapid response interventions’ in developing countries, which have been adversely affected by the pandemic.

Announced at President Biden’s ’Global Covid-19 Summit: Ending the Pandemic and Building Back Better’, the funds are part of a more-than $9.8bn effort by USAID and the US Department of State to accelerate the fight against Covid-19.

The announcement comes after significant contributions by USAID to aid Ghana in its pandemic response, which has comprised of four oxygen plants, each with the capacity to produce 250 litres of oxygen per minute, and 28 high-flow, high-pressure oxygen concentrators.

Two plants have already been delivered, one to the Ghana Infectious Disease Centre and another to Cape Coast Municipal Hospital. Another two will be received at Kumasi South Hospital and Tamale West Hospital.

In preparation for delivery of the plants, USAID worked to make sure that the necessary infrastructure, electricity connections, and piping was all in place, as well as the provision of adequate training to health staff and engineers in the use and maintenance of the equipment.

Stating that ‘no nation can act alone in the face of a pandemic’, Stephanie S. Sullivan, US Ambassador to Ghana, emphasised the importance of a close relationship with allied nations.

She continued, “Together, it is important to build back a better world, one that is more prepared to prevent, detect, and respond to future biological threats.”

A negative pressure isolation system was also gifted by the US Department of Defense’s Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid programme to Ridge Hospital in capital city Accra.

The equipment donations follow the delivery of over 1.2 million Moderna vaccines to the country earlier this month (September 4th).

With a focus on international support, the funding announcement comes after USAID’s $2.8m donation to Tajikistan for the strengthening of its Covid-19 response, including an optimisation of oxygen systems and the procuring of additional oxygen-related equipment.