NUR-SULTAN -- The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is bolstering financial aid to Central Asian nations to help them fight the coronavirus outbreak.
The CDC will provide $1.68 million in assistance to Kazakhstan that will be used collaboratively with local government agencies to address the most critical needs in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic, the US Embassy in Kazakhstan said in a statement on its website on April 30.
The CDC has offices in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
The funds are part of an overall US pandemic aid package of $6.8 million for Central Asian countries.
"We have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Central Asia since January and have offered technical assistance to all the governments in the region to support their outbreak response," CDC Central Asia Director Daniel Singer said in the statement.
The funds will go toward the "procurement of laboratory supplies and equipment for COVID-19 testing, organisation of trainings for public health workers, technical assistance for border health activities, as well as help to develop and implement clinical protocols", according to the CDC.
The CDC has extensive experience fighting human immunodeficiency virus, tuberculosis and pandemic diseases, and this history has "laid the foundation to rapidly and effectively prepare for emerging threats, including the current coronavirus outbreak", it said in the statement.
A long-standing partnership
"This additional funding demonstrates our continued commitment to Kazakhstan to fight the spread of COVID-19, but even more important is the partnership in public health built over the past 25 years between the CDC and Kazakhstan which will continue long after we defeat the coronavirus," William Moser, the US ambassador to Kazakhstan, said in the statement.
The aid was "invaluable", said Azamat Nazarov, an infectious disease physician from Turkistan Province who has completed CDC trainings for Kazakh doctors.
"The CDC has been providing assistance in many areas of health care for years, including the prevention of serious viral infections," Nazarov said.
He praised the experience of his American colleagues and the assistance they offer.
"It's very gratifying that both before the pandemic and amid the unexpected threat from COVID-19, American healthcare agencies are helping us. The material support and the training they provide are invaluable and are being put to use to benefit Kazakhs' health," Nazarov said.
The United States has been sending aid to Central Asia since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Through a number of programmes, the US government has delivered substantial resources to procure laboratory equipment and personal protective equipment for health workers.
In addition, the United States has helped to counter disinformation about the coronavirus.