Amata announces series of federal grants for American Samoa

by Apr 7, 2020American Samoa, Coronavirus0 comments

American Samoa Delegate Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R) has announced two health grants awarded to the United States territory to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The first one is of $740,000 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the second award, totaling $745,000, is for American Samoa Community Health Centers—from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); both come directly through the recent congressional appropriations in the CARES Act.

The CARES Act is a major appropriations response to the need to quickly prepare medical facilities, equipment, and personnel for the COVID-19 response. HRSA is the primary federal agency for improving health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable, managing 90 different programs within this mission. Specifically, the discretionary HRSA grant of $745,580 is for Health Center Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Funding.

Amata congratulated Community Health Centers Executive Director Kenn Kuaea for the efforts to obtain the grants. In March, both CDC and HRSA also supplied other initial grants specifically for coronavirus efforts, so that the HHS total for American Samoa is over $1.9 million so far since Congress began passing legislation last month due to coronavirus, while the US Department of Housing and Urban Development recently announced an additional $800,000 for coronavirus-related needs.

This is timely news for ongoing health care preparations in American Samoa, and once again a direct funding result of the recent historic CARES Act.

Through the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations (CARES) Act, 2020, the CDC plan to award $186 million in additional funding around the country to states, localities, and territories this week. The CDC state that the effort will support a range of activities such as lab equipment, supplies, staffing, shipping, infection control, surge staffing, monitoring of individuals, and data management, and supplements existing cooperative agreements with jurisdictions.

“Increasing the capacity of our nation’s public health infrastructure is critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19 in communities across this country,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD “These funds will augment core public health capabilities including surveillance and predictive analytics, laboratory capacity, qualified frontline deployers, and the ability to rapidly respond to emerging disease clusters in communities that currently have limited person to person spread of the virus.”

Amata thanked the agencies for the awards saying “[t]hank you to CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, and I know it will be put to good use for our readiness. Thank you also to Administrator Thomas Engels.”