- Bloomberg Philanthropies announced Tuesday a $40 million global initiative to help low- and middle-income countries in their response to the new coronavirus (COVID-19). The group, led by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, will partner with Vital Strategies and the World Health Organization (WHO) to support some of the world's most vulnerable areas and their response to the pandemic.
- The Bloomberg Philanthropies Coronavirus Global Response Initiative will fund rapid response teams that will be deployed to prevent and detect infection; train healthcare workers in infection prevention and control; develop lab networks to manage and transport tests for diagnosis; measure public acceptance of containment strategies; provide communications support; and provide technical expertise to global and regional health organizations.
- This global effort comes just days after Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a program to help U.S. mayors respond to the pandemic, alongside the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative. That group will have its first virtual convening of mayors on Thursday.
As the global spread of the coronavirus pandemic continues to have far-reaching impacts on cities in the United States and across the world, philanthropists are among those stepping up to provide financial support. Indeed, Bloomberg Philanthropies said this effort in poorer countries is designed to complement funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which will provide up to $100 million to improve "detection, isolation and treatment efforts" internationally.
Supporters of these philanthropic efforts say such investments will be crucial to stop the spread of the disease, in addition to localized initiatives like social distancing and closing down large gatherings of people. "An unprecedented global health crisis demands unprecedented global solidarity," Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said in a statement released by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
While places like China, Italy and the United States have garnered attention for their response to the impacts of coronavirus, Bloomberg Philanthropies noted that Africa also warrants similar attention. So far, there are 160 confirmed cases on the continent and three reported deaths. Officials said there is only a limited amount of time to partner with groups on the ground and stand up response efforts before the pandemic’s effects are felt even more widely.
And with local leaders on the front lines of the response across the world, it will be key to engage with those individuals and give them the tools and resources needed to ensure an effective response.
"City and country leaders, whether they are in America or in low- and middle-income countries where we do much of our work, need urgent support to boost preparedness for their people," Dr. Kelly Henning, who leads the public health program at Bloomberg Philanthropies, said in a statement. "It is critical that the virus is brought under control as quickly as possible."
To keep up with all of our coverage on how the new coronavirus is impacting U.S. cities, visit our daily tracker.