Bridgetown, Barbados, 8 May 2020 – The Caribbean credit union movement through its Foundation and the Worldwide Foundation for Credit Unions has donated US$115,000 to Caribbean credit unions, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.
The funds will be used to procure and distribute personal protective equipment (PPE), gear and test kits to support frontline staff in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. The Union was pleased to offer the donation, pointing out that most frontline credit union staff still have to interact with members. A large majority of members are also first responders, who are in constant need of the requisite PPE. The donation is also particularly important for the Caribbean as countries depend on the importation of equipment and other supplies.
“We are grateful for this donation and it is timely as PAHO seeks to ensure the availability of essential items to face COVID-19. As PAHO works towards ensuring availability and quality control, it will continue to collaborate with donors to meet the needs of member states. PAHO will stay in constant dialogue with member states to prioritize distribution for countries with the most critical needs and community transmission,” Jessie Schutt-Aine, Subregional Program Coordinator for the Caribbean said.
PAHO has already donated 590,000 PPE items including gloves, surgical and N95 masks, goggles and gowns to 26 countries. However, the agency has estimated that the costs of gloves, masks, gowns, goggles and ventilators can cost approximately $25 million USD, per month.
Donations to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO are still being accepted at covid19responsefund.org and funds raised will support the work of WHO and its partners in: tracking and understanding the spread of the virus; ensuring patients get the care they need and frontline workers get essential supplies and information; and accelerating research and development of a vaccine and treatments.
The Caribbean credit union movement, comprises over 200 Credit Unions in seventeen English speaking countries and serves over 2.4 million members. Credit unions are not–for-profit financial cooperatives, offering similar services as other financial institutions, but with a distinct inclusiveness and people-first philosophy.