Ambassador Blume Remarks at the Ceremony of the Handover of a Medical Donation to the Ministry of Health

Dr.  Faouzi El Mehdi, Minister of Health, Ms. Marilena Viviani, Country Representative & UN Resident Representative, colleagues, and guests. Good morning.

It is my great honor and pleasure to be with you today.

When the pandemic reached Tunisia last March, the U.S. Government through USAID, committed $25 million to support the Government of Tunisia’s immediate COVID-19 prevention and response efforts, and to alleviate the long-term economic and social effects of the pandemic.

USAID partnered with leading international organizations to support the National COVID-19 Response Plan in the fields of public awareness; infection prevention and control; water and sanitation for hygiene (WASH); lab capacity; and procurement of equipment and supplies.

We are very pleased to support the safe reopening of schools and daycare centers.  Through UNICEF, we are providing 4,500 contactless thermometers to ensure implementation of prevention protocols in schools; approximately 7,500 WASH kits to guarantee a safe and healthy learning environment in 150 kindergartens; and COVID educational materials for all 6,250 schools in Tunisia.

We are also very pleased to deliver the first 25,000 of 100,000 COVID-19 test kits and procure a second DNA extractor designed to increase the Ministry’s ability to conduct tests to contain the spread of the pandemic.

Working with the Tunisian government to support long-term economic and social recovery to alleviate losses inflicted by the pandemic is one of our priorities.

In the shorter term, we are providing small grants and technical advice to small and medium enterprises so they can continue working safely and can overcome the impact of the pandemic.

Our work with municipalities to provide cleaning and sanitation supplies to municipal workers ensured a healthy environment for Tunisians across the country.

Meanwhile, providing PPE to health care workers in both civilian and military hospitals ensured these unsung heroes are able to work safely.

Today, I would like to reaffirm U.S. commitment to continuing to support Tunisians during these challenging times.

We look forward to continued success and the ultimate eradication of COVID-19 in Tunisia.  Thank you.