NEWS | Aug. 31, 2021

Fact Sheet – U.S. Response to COVID-19 in Sri Lanka

U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka

U.S. Embassy in Sri Lanka -- The United States and Sri Lanka have worked closely together to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic since its outset. The American people have donated over 1.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since March 2021. The U.S., through USAID, has provided over $15 million to Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 response and recovery, including 200 portable ventilators. This assistance, all grants and not loans, has reached millions of people in all 25 districts and 9 provinces of Sri Lanka, providing life-saving treatments, strengthening clinical care, and mobilizing critical supplies to reduce transmission, bolster response, and help the country recover. Through this partnership, the U.S. has:

  • Donated $2 billion to the global COVAX facility, making the United States the world’s largest single donor supporting the global effort to provide equitable access to high-quality, WHO-authorized COVID-19 vaccines. COVAX has committed to providing 8.4 million vaccine doses to Sri Lanka free of charge. Sri Lanka received 1.5 million Moderna vaccines in July 2021 and over 100,000 FDA-approved Pfizer doses in August 2021. 
  • Provided urgently needed supplies to the Ministry of Health, including Personal Protective Equipment consisting of 240,000 KN95 masks to protect both patients and Sri Lankan health care personnel, 40,000 protective goggles, and 600,000 pairs of examination gloves. Donated diagnostic tools, including 500,000 rapid diagnostic test kits to directly detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus and 1,200 fingertip pulse oximeters to measure oxygen levels in a patient’s blood to determine whether a higher level of care is needed.
  • Donated 200 ventilators to 121 Sri Lankan healthcare facilities in order to save lives and enhance the quality of immediate care for people suffering from the most severe symptoms of COVID-19. Provided technical assistance and training to more than 1,400 clinicians to expand the pool of healthcare professionals qualified to use this ventilator model and manage COVID cases.
  • Supported Sri Lanka Red Cross to train 180 youth volunteers to help in the vaccination efforts at vaccination centers in five districts of the Northern Province.
  • Helped keep frontline workers safe by providing personal protective equipment, thermal scanners, handwashing stations, hygiene kits, disinfection sprayers, N95 masks, and other critical supplies to hundreds of hospitals, government offices, schools, and communities. Provided equipment and training to local businesses to manufacture personal protective equipment.
  • Helped schools reopen safely by printing and distributing guidelines for reopening and providing handwashing stations, hand sanitizer, and personal protective equipment to schools following the first two waves. Established health rooms, including beds, mattresses, first aid kits, portable screens, and water dispensers, at 120 schools around the country to ensure basic precautionary measures against COVID-19 and enable isolation and related care for students if needed. Disinfected more than 200 government school compounds and preschools in 14 districts and provided power sprayers and thermal scanners benefitting more than 150,000 students and staff.
  • Launched a national messaging campaign that promoted social distancing, raised awareness of the importance of following good hygiene practices, and provided critical information about the virus, its symptoms, transmission, and preventative messages, reaching over 7 million people.
  • Developed the “Stay Home and Learn” campaign that reached over a million youth through films, social media, and an online learning portal to provide opportunities for youth to proactively build their life and career skills while at home due to COVID-related school closures.
  • Established six maternity isolation units for COVID-19 positive pregnant women. Distributed more than 7,000 personal hygiene kits, including sanitary pads, to women in quarantine centers, residential care facilities and other restricted locations without access to health provisions.
  • Expanded 24-hour hotline capacity to provide psychosocial counselling to callers, including people impacted by an increase in domestic violence due to COVID-19, and link them with emergency services such as food and safe shelters.
  • Donated a PCR test machine to the University of Jaffna to increase its testing capacity from 60 to 180 tests per day. Provided a mobile testing lab to the Regional Health Service Directorate in Monaragala to test up to 100 people daily. Handed over a U.S.-funded COVID-19 test kit, including a RT-PCR machine, supplies to conduct 2,000 tests, and personal protective equipment to the University of Colombo.
  • Supported data collection and analysis on the impact of COVID-19 on households, health, education, and nutrition to inform response activities and sector strategies to mitigate the impact of the crisis on children and their families. Conducted surveys on trade and labor market impacts of COVID-19 on exporters. Provided capacity building training as part of the State Department’s private sector engagement with the apparel industry and Sri Lanka’s Export Development Board to aid new exporters in accessing the U.S. market.
  • Strengthened Sri Lanka’s readiness to respond to public health emergencies by providing essential equipment, including 71,000 masks, 24,000 nitrile gloves, 600 isolation gowns with hoods, 60 infrared thermometers, 50 portable oxygen concentrators plus expendable equipment to support their operation such as disinfectants and safety goggles. The U.S. Department of Defense funded these donations and procured items locally in keeping with U.S. efforts to support Sri Lanka’s local businesses as they recover from COVID-19’s economic impact.