U.S. Assistance to the Republic of the Marshall Islands on COVID-19
The U.S. government continues to work closely with the government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Embassy Majuro is closely coordinating with U.S. interagency partners including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), USAID, the Department of Interior and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM). The U.S. response in the Pacific Island countries is currently prioritizing the U.S. Freely Associated States (FAS)—the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), and Republic of Palau (Palau)—with whom we have uniquely close relationship rooted in the Compacts of Free Association and longstanding public health programs.
Preparedness and Emergency Response: For many years, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has engaged with RMI to develop and continuously refine emergency response plans. Now the lead agency on U.S. COVID-19 response, CDC is in frequent communication with the RMI Ministry of Health and Human Services to determine needs and provide guidance and assistance. CDC also leads a weekly call with health care professionals in the U.S. Pacific territories and Freely Associated States. Currently, CDC is collaborating with WHO colleagues and others in the region to help the FAS adapt and apply their existing national response plans for the current COVID-19 threat. CDC is providing technical assistance and developing additional funding options to support established regional mechanisms for infectious disease response.
Testing: The United States through CDC is supporting COVID-19 testing for the FAS. In addition to CDC’s laboratory in Atlanta, Hawaii’s state public health laboratory and the Guam Public Health Laboratory are now available to serve the COVID-19 testing needs of FSM, RMI, and Palau. CDC is currently acting to supply additional test kits to support increased testing demands in Guam.
Supplemental Funding: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) received a share of the U.S. government’s recent $8.3 billion supplemental funding package for coronavirus-related research and assistance. The following amounts have been made available to the Pacific territories and FAS to support their response to COVID-19: American Samoa ($370,246.50), Guam ($479,431.80), Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands ($369,765.90), RMI ($367,754.40), FSM ($420,402.60), and Palau ($336,793.50).
Personal Protective Equipment: The U.S. Freely Associated States are eligible to receive allocations of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the strategic national stockpile managed by HHS/Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).
Donor Coordination: Embassy Majuro and U.S. interagency partners are coordinating with like-minded partners including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Taiwan, Pacific Islands Health Officers Association (PIHOA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) to address requests for personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies, testing, and technical assistance. The U.S. government has provided longstanding public health assistance to the people and government of RMI.
“The RMI came to terms with this reality early on and I have been impressed by their determination to protect the people here,” said U.S. Ambassador Roxanne Cabral. “I would like to thank and commend all health professionals for their hard work and unwavering dedication to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the country, the United States, and around the world. We must all come together and fight this pandemic as one. The United States is proud to be a close partner and friend of the RMI and this assistance is another clear demonstration of our unwavering cooperation. Together, we promote peace, democracy, and prosperity for the RMI, the United States, and for the broader Indo-Pacific region. We will continue to stand by our Marshallese friends and neighbors in these challenging times.”
POC: Rachael Doherty, Deputy Chief of Mission