The U.S. Southern Command’s (SOUTHCOM), funded by the Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP) provides ongoing assistance to nations responding to the global pandemic in the Caribbean, Central America and South America. SOUTHCOM’s support to COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts began in late March, as the first signs of COVID-19 infections emerged and nations requested assistance from the U.S. government.
The first phase of SOUTHCOM’s assistance focused on supporting the countries’ immediate response to the pandemic by providing much-needed resources, procured locally, to first responders and health-care providers on the front lines of the battle to defeat the virus and save lives. During that initial phase, More than 80 HAP projects donated personal protective equipment, consisting of N-95 masks, gloves, face shields, protective coveralls and disposable aprons. Medical supplies, medical equipment and COVID-19 testing supplies were also donated during the initial phase.
The field hospitals are among the donations funded in the second phase of SOUTHCOM’s assistance to the region, which is focused on supporting the region’s long-term preparedness and prevention efforts.
To date, the command has funded more than 320 HAP projects, purchasing more than $17 million in supplies, equipment and other vital resources to support the COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts of 28 nations. In total, the U.S. government has provided more than $135 million in COVID-19 response assistance to the region.
HAP helps partner nations build their disaster readiness, response and mitigation capabilities. The program funds infrastructure, equipment and training to help nations prepare before disasters and crises strike, but also supports countries who request assistance from the U.S. government when they experience health and weather-related emergencies.
COVID-19 assistance projects are funded under HAP to support requests from partner nations for supplies and equipment needed to respond to the virus outbreak, treat infected patients and prevent additional exposures. The U.S. State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development review the projects and concur with their proposed assistance before they are approved. All COVID-19 assistance items donated under the program were purchased from host-nation or regional suppliers with no impact on the Department of Defense’s force health protection supply chain.
The countries assisted under HAP so far are Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.