News from Cuba | Wednesday, 23 September 2020 | Click here for original article

Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is mobilizing €5.3 million to help the Cuban Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. In practical terms, that has helped provide 76 ventilators, 180,000 protective kits and supplies to develop diagnosis tests.
Even before the onset of the pandemic, AFD had allocated a €24 million loan to the Cuban Government in July 2019 to develop the capacities of three health institutions: the Pedro Kourí Institute (IPK – today on the front line in the fight against Covid-19), the Institute of Nephrology (INEF) and the National Institute of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Microbiology (INHEM).

In May 2020, following the Covid-19 emergency and the request from MINSAP, AFD accepted to reallocate part of the planned financing for the urgent procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators for the Pedro Kourí Institute and hospitals in the worst affected provinces.

Rapid response to the emergency

“The acquisition of this equipment is meeting several urgent needs, firstly, to ensure the protection of nursing staff, secondly, to provide treatment in intensive care for patients in a critical or serious condition,” says Dr. Duran, Director of Epidemiology at MINSAP and manager of the AFD project. “This is part of our country’s Covid-19 prevention and control plan, so it is of tremendous help in tackling the pandemic.”

The Ambassador of France in Cuba, Patrice Paoli said: “Thanks to AFD it has been possible to provide emergency assistance to our Cuban partners for the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic. This bears witness to our close relations and solidarity. We are also continuing the long-term structural work with the Pedro Kourí Institute of Tropical Medicine, the Institute of Nephrology and the National Institute of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Microbiology to develop their capacities.”

In 2020, AFD will reinforce its support to MINSAP by financing a partnership with Institut Pasteur, in association with the Research Institute for Environmental and Occupational Health (IRSET) and the EHESP School of Public Health (LERES), and by mobilizing a European Union grant to increase the volume of equipment financed. AFD is also working with the FINLAY Institute to prepare financing for a project to develop its research capacity on the production and export of vaccines.

Not just a matter of health care

In addition to the health sector, since late 2016, AFD has been helping the Cuban Government upgrade its infrastructure (water, sanitation, transport). It has also supported Cuba’s transition to a sustainable economic model, by promoting sustainable agriculture practices (livestock farming, green banking) and renewable energy development (biomass, wind energy). It has already committed over €100 million in Cuba and plans to increase its financing in the coming years.

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