Raphael John-Lall

[email protected]

Vashtie Dookiesingh, senior specialist, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), has said that this international lending agency has allocated US$14.5 million for COVID-19 responses.

She said in T&T the IDB has a US$50 million facility that is allocated to the control of non-communicable diseases in T&T and the US$14.5 million was taken from this fund.

As of April, US$5 million has been redirected for support preparation of the Couva Hospital personal protective equipment (PPE) acquisition among other uses.

Dookiesingh spoke on Saturday via video conference at a virtual conference for healthcare professionals from around the Caribbean.

The virtual conference explored how healthcare professionals can use digital health to improve healthcare access, outcomes, and support social distancing amid COVID-19 pandemic.

She said in the context of COVID-19 responses, the IDB is focusing on four areas which include public health preparation and responses, the social safety nets, economic productivity and budget support for the Government.

“The IDB lab launched a call for proposals for solutions that could be piloted to address COVID-19 challenges in healthcare. For three weeks, 500 proposals were received and 20 were cleared for funding eventually for up to US $150,000.”

Dookiesingh added that T&T is in a good position to pilot and jump start some of these digital solutions in the healthcare area.

She referred to a report by the Caribbean Development Bank in 2019, which stated that T&T is in a better position than the rest of the Caribbean in terms of the country’s ICT infrastructure, digital literacy, legal framework and investment in tertiary education.

She added that the elderly, persons with non-communicable diseases and other chronic ailments are the ones who will be most vulnerable in society post COVID-19 and this will likely to prevail until a vaccine is developed.