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:
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 $7.1 million to date for health assistance to the Thai Government.
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 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.
A USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance-supported PhonPai mobile application enabled direct and timely distribution of 188,203 relief kits and drinking water (valued at nearly $4 million) to quarantined individuals across 69 of Thailand’s 76 provinces from March 27, 2020 to April 21, 2021. In November 2020, the Thai Red Cross signed an MoU with 19 government ministries and entities to institutionalize Phonphai as the official national disaster risk management application. Initially designed for coordinated response to common hazards such as flooding, wind and landslides, Phonphai continues to play a significant role in the COVID-19 response through facilitation of relief kit distribution to quarantined households and health screening.