Additional assistance of the USA for the fight against COVID-19 in Serbia

November 17, 2021

Today Ambassador of the United States of America (USA), Mr Anthony Godfrey, Minister of Health, Dr Zlatibor Lončar, Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Serbia, Dr Marijan Ivanuša, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Ms Francine Pickup, announced a new phase of US assistance for fight against COVID-19 in Serbia, in total amount of approximetly 9.1 million dollars.

Minister Lončar pointed out that this financial support is extremely large and important, but that he believes that intangible support, solidarity and togetherness, which the citizens of Serbia see and feel, are much more important, adding: „The Government of the Republic of Serbia is doing everything it can to make the virus put under control, but that is not enough. We cannot defeat this virus until everyone in the world is safe, and that is why it is very important that we act together in the fight against the pandemic”.

Part of the assistance, USD 1.75 million, is planned for the joint ongoing “Together against Covid” initiative, and UNDP will procure diagnostic equipment and provide support for the Institute for Application of Nuclear Energy (INEP), the Institute of Public Health of Serbia “Dr. Milan Jovanović Batut”, the Institute for Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering, University of Belgrade and the Institute for Research and Development of Artificial Intelligence.

UNDP Resident Representative, Ms Francine Pickup further explained „Thanks to the additional US Government funding, UNDP will be able to support further medical research, education on public health threats, development of IT solutions, and equipping of relevant national institutions. In partnership with national public health and research institutions, we will build stronger national capacities for detection of threats, treatment of diseases, and mitigation of public health risks. In this way we will also ensure that institutions and communities in Serbia are better protected and more resilient to future challenges”.

USAID has allocated USD 1.95 million for cooperation with the WHO, as a way of additionally supporting activities for promoting vaccination in Serbia.

"In the world so far, at least 5 million people have died from COVID19, and everything indicates that this fight is not even close to the end. This is not the last wave, nor the last pandemic. Serbia has made great efforts to provide vaccines and organize safe vaccination. Hesitancy when it comes to vaccination is not new and we will work together with the Ministry of Health and the Government of the Republic of Serbia to overcome barriers and create a ground for other health threats. We will do that through gathering evidence, a comprehensive campaign, but also through direct work in the community that will enable us to hear people and answer their questions, doubts and fears, "added Dr. Marijan Ivanuša, WHO representative.

„We need to give Serbia’s and the world’s medical workers a break. They’ve been working non-stop for nearly two years to save lives. Here in Serbia and around the world, we know that it is overwhelmingly unvaccinated people who need hospitalization and health care. I ask everyone listening to please get vaccinated. For you. For your loved ones and for all of Serbia’s brave healthcare workers” emphasized the USA Ambassador, Mr Anthony Godfrey.

It was stressed that all activities will be carried out in close cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Serbia to show the unity of Government and international actors in emphasizing the need to vaccinate as many people as possible to bring the pandemic under control.