Colombo, August 25 – On June 15, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) handed over a U.S.-funded COVID-19 test kit to the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo. The test kit carries supplies to conduct 2,000 tests. Valued at an estimated $118,000, the kit contains a RT-PCR machine, the most reliable and efficient technology utilized for COVID-19 testing to date, and accessories such as re-agents, PPE, and other essential safety tools.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Colombo and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Professor Vajira Dissanayake received the donation. They noted:
“International cooperation is vital to face the COVID-19 global pandemic. The laboratory equipment and test kits donated to our Faculty would help strengthen our COVID-19 testing facilities. We are grateful to the International and Sri Lankan Atomic Energy Authorities and the United States Embassy for this donation.”
The Medical Research Institute Sri Lanka and the National Hospital Kandy will use the diagnostic kit based on agreements previously arranged between Sri Lanka and the IAEA. In addition to the equipment, the IAEA provided training to local personnel to encourage safe use of the equipment and reliable testing going forward.
United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives Alaina Teplitz said “The United States stands committed to supporting Sri Lanka in their efforts to take appropriate measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the long-term capacity-building efforts that ensure strong emergency response to crises.”
The United States Government has allocated $11 million towards projects benefiting 84 countries and providing over 100 state-of-the-art diagnostic kits to address the COVID-19 pandemic. As the largest health and humanitarian donor globally, the United States has provided more than $100 billion in health assistance since 2009 to protect vulnerable populations, build medical infrastructure, and promote stability. The IAEA donation stands as another example of U.S. assistance that looks to the future in responding to public health emergencies and building the capacity of health care systems globally.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the United States leads the world in the fight against COVID-19, with $20.5 billion allocated from across the U.S. Government to benefit the global response. In Sri Lanka, the United States has committed over $5.8 million in aid through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In addition, the US Department of Defense donated $80,000 worth of PPE to Sri Lanka’s hospitals, as well as coveralls and cleaning supplies to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), and over 48,000 pieces of PPE to the Disaster Management Center. Furthermore, the US collaborated with Sri Lankan companies to enable production and export of 200 million face masks and is continuing this synergy by helping Sri Lankan apparel producers export PPE to the United States.