US commits $15m to global monkeypox outbreak response

White House and USAID form international co-ordination team to assist countries in fight against spread of monkeypox

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The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is committing $15 million to address the global monkeypox outbreak, an official told The National on Friday.

The funds will go towards technical assistance in low- and middle-income countries, as well as providing diagnostic tests, laboratory tools, protective equipment and public education.

More than 57,000 monkeypox cases have been recorded globally, data from the World Health Organisation show.

“We are committed in working to contain monkeypox and ultimately bring it under control, protecting countries around the world and the United States,” a USAID official told The National on background.

“Ending the monkeypox outbreak is a priority for the United States.”

The White House monkeypox response co-ordination team announced its global effort during a briefing on Wednesday.

“We’ve established a global task force across multiple different federal agencies to focus co-ordination to other countries and the WHO to ensure that we have a responsibility to assist and help some of those countries that may not have the resources to do that,” the team's co-ordinator Bob Fenton said.

While the US leads the world in number of cases, President Joe Biden's administration has faced questions about its role in assisting other countries with their outbreaks.

The WHO declared a global public health emergency in July, calling the spread of the disease in non-endemic countries “extraordinary”.

“Our goal is to really control this outbreak in the US,” deputy co-ordinator Demetre Daskalakis said.

He added that the team is “also thinking about the global environment and making sure that we don’t just address what’s happening in the US but also think about the rest of the world, because infections that happen there will affect us as well”.

USAID has formed an internal monkeypox response team with the agency's Jeremy Konyndyk and the CDC's Hank Tomlinson.

The agency did not provide information on whether vaccinations would be part of its global response.

The new commitment of funds was first reported by Politico.

The current outbreak is mainly affecting gay men and other members of the LGBTQ community.

Symptoms of monkeypox include painful rashes and body lesions, and infected people are required to isolate for three to four weeks.

Updated: September 09, 2022, 6:01 PM
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