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Developing Countries: Coronavirus

Department for International Development written question – answered on 25th March 2020.

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Photo of Chris Matheson Chris Matheson Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to help strengthen the capacity of primary health care systems in low-income countries to respond to the spread of covid-19.

Photo of Wendy Morton Wendy Morton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The Department for International Development (DFID) recognises strong and resilient national health systems are vital to global health security and helping to protect the world from infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

Through our multilateral partnerships, and our regional and national programmes, we support low-income countries to make their health systems, including primary healthcare, stronger and more resilient, and able to prevent, detect and respond to health threats, such as COVID-19.

UK aid has a longstanding record of global support to countries to prepare for large disease outbreaks. DFID provides continued and additional support to the World Health Organization (WHO) and other UN agencies, using their leadership role, through providing technical assistance, setting norms and standards and tracking progress to help countries address key Health System Strengthening bottlenecks.

The Department of Health and Social Care’s £21 million International Health Regulations (IHR) Strengthening Project builds capacity in six countries across Africa and Asia to enable them to observe the IHRs and better enable them to prevent, detect and respond to infectious disease threats.

In addition to the UK’s significant annual funding to the WHO of around £120 million, the UK has committed an additional £10 million to the WHO’s Emergency Flash Appeal through to April and additional funding for other international partners who are helping developing countries develop and deliver their own response to the virus. We are pressing WHO and the UN to develop a follow-up consolidated appeal to address the COVID-19 health and priority secondary impacts developing countries.

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