USAID Continues Providing Supplies and Support to Thailand Amid COVID-19 Outbreak: Thailand is currently experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 transmission than at any time during the pandemic, with the highest volume of cases in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area. The first cases of COVID-19 notified outside of China were identified in Thailand in early January, 2020, and USAID's Regional Development Mission for Asia (RDMA) has supported Thailand in managing the pandemic. The continued support in response to Thailand’s most urgent needs further demonstrates the strong partnership between USAID and the Royal Thai Government, whose collaboration in addressing emerging disease threats spans decades. These critical supplies and technical assistance from the American people help support medical professionals and health workers as Thailand responds to COVID-19:
On August 10, 2021, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced $5 million in COVID-19 assistance for Thailand. Through USAID, this assistance will support health workers administering vaccines and strengthen the supply chain of vaccines to ensure that they reach vulnerable populations. The funding will also strengthen the ability of the Royal Thai Government’s health system to prevent, detect, and respond to COVID-19. In September 2021, USAID provided an additional $260,000 through its Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC) program to provide personal and protective equipment for staff at community health clinics to continue providing HIV services to clients who are in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, USAID/RDMA has provided continual support to the Royal Thai Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. USAID has provided more than $12.4 million to date for health assistance to the Thai Government.
In addition to the continued support in response to the pandemic, through President Biden’s plan to donate 23 million COVID-19 vaccines to Asia, Thailand received over 1.5 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, July 30. This donation is in addition to the United States’ $4 billion in commitments to the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Initiative (COVAX).
Building upon USAID/RDMA’s sustained efforts for over a decade in Thailand to boost diagnostic capacity for emerging diseases of pandemic potential, USAID assistance to the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases Health Science Centre at Chulalongkorn University contributed to Thailand’s confirmation of the first traveler-imported COVID-19 case in Thailand in January 2020.
USAID, through UNICEF grants, has provided $1,055,320 to address the pandemic in Thailand. The COVID-19 crisis is upending the lives of the most vulnerable populations in Thailand, such as low-income populations, migrants, ethnic minorities, and transient workers, who often have limited access to critical health and hygiene information, as well as quality and affordable health services. USAID is working with UNICEF and their partners to provide COVID-19 information to migrant families in Thailand from Cambodia and Burma. Over 117,601 migrants and vulnerable people were reached through community-level risk communication activities including behavior-focused messages on COVID-19 tailored to the specific needs and risks faced by migrant workers and their children.
Through WHO, USAID supported strengthening case detection such as thermal scan camera, contactless thermometers. This support also assisted Thailand with improving diagnostic capacity such as sample collection equipment, diagnostic machine, reagents and test kits for screening at the international airports, land point of entries, and at the state quarantine facilities.
Through the USAID Global Health Supply Chain Program-Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM), which facilitates international and local procurement and delivery, USAID has provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Thai health personnel from December 2020 to the present. These include 43,200 protective goggles and 10,080 N95 respirators; 150,000 washable face masks for the communities; COVID-19 screening equipment such as 20 thermal scan cameras and 20,000 sterile swabs with transport media; and 30,000 biohazard bags to dispose medical waste materials. This support complements USAID donations to Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health of 10,000 gloves, 5,000 surgical masks, 5,000 surgical gowns, 5,000 respirator masks, 5,000 shoe covers, 5,100 surgical caps, 2,500 face shields, and 500 protective goggles to support emergency preparedness for frontline health workers in priority hospitals and health facilities during the early phase of the pandemic in Thailand.
Through USAID’s Meeting Targets and Maintaining Epidemic Control (EpiC) and One Health Workforce - Next Generation (OHW-NG) programs, USAID/RDMA reached high-risk communities, including migrant populations, with risk communication products and tools to reduce transmission and protect vulnerable communities. During the critical early period of the pandemic, this support facilitated high risk communities in accessing health care services, and supported case detection at ports of entry and state quarantine facilities. Additionally, institutes of higher education were engaged in supporting diagnostic surge capacity and risk communications to university staff and students.
Through USAID’s Infectious Disease Detection and Surveillance (IDDS) program, assistance was provided supporting diagnostic and testing surge capacity during the initial phases of the COVID-19 crisis in Thailand. To support active case finding with sufficient testing volumes, USAID provided test kits, laboratory supplies, and diagnostic platforms facilitating enhanced testing rates and case identification and management. Diagnostics and testing support expanded through the nascent Regional Public Health Laboratory Network, established with USAID support, and with membership spanning ASEAN member states. Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health, Department of Medical Sciences currently serves as the Network’s Secretariat, working to strengthen public health laboratory systems, policies, and standards in the region.