The Government of Canada announced a contribution of CAD$7.5 million (US$5.3 million), to support immediate life-saving assistance in Central and South America, including Colombia, through the PanAmerican Health Organization (PAHO).

This support allows countries to address the most urgent needs in the midst of the pandemic, such as the delivery of personal protective equipment and the improvement of essential medical services.

Along with the relief, Canada will also provide CAD$35,000 (COP$12 million) to the Bogotá-based Universidad del Rosario, the first university laboratory certified by Colombia’s National Institute of Health (INS) to increase the capacity and coverage of COVID-19 testing nationwide, and in regions that require it most, such as the departments of Chocó, Meta, Huila and Norte de Santander.

Since April, the Government of Canada has supported the Ministry of Health and Social Protection with a contribution of CAD$340,000 (COP$92 million) to back the hiring of 42 new employees as phone operators and telemedicine experts to provide information, guidance and advice to the public about COVID-19, and identify cases which require immediate referral to medical centers.

Canada has also been working with local partners to adapt development investments in areas such as rural education, access to rural credits, support to migrants and host communities, and empowerment of women, to face the new challenges caused by COVID-19.

Canadian Ambassador to Colombia, Marcel Lebleu, remarked that “Canada stands together with Colombia and is proud to be able to help in these difficult times. Through solidarity and multilateralism, we can move forward together.”

Canada’s Minister of International Development Karina Gould, announced CAD$790 million toward vaccinating vulnerable populations around the world and distributing a COVID-19 vaccine for the global community, when an effective one is discovered. “As a global community, we must work to ensure that those most vulnerable, including women and children, have access to vaccinations to keep them healthy wherever they live,” said Gould. “COVID-19 has demonstrated that viruses do not know borders. Our health in Canada depends on the health of everyone, everywhere.”