The Indonesian Ministry of Health has received a shipment of the new oral antiviral medicine nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (PAXLOVID™) funded by the Governments of the United States of America and Australia through the World Health Organization for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. The donation was symbolically handed over by WHO Representative to Indonesia, Dr. N. Paranietharan, to the Indonesian Minister of Health Budi G. Sadikin on April 13, 2023, at the Ministry of Health.
The delivery of the Paxlovid antiviral therapeutics caps a partnership between the United States and Indonesia that demonstrates the value of constructive collaboration.
Three years ago, the world was confronted with a pandemic that was killing millions of people, even in its initial stages. Social interactions were necessarily limited, often keeping friends and family separated and severely reducing economic activities.
And because disease knows no borders, COVID-19 required international coordination to limit the spread of the disease and an aggressive search for vaccines to reduce infections and devise new treatments.
Ultimately, the pandemic infected more than 760 million people and took the lives of almost 7 million world-wide, making it one of the deadliest outbreaks in history.
At the outbreak of the pandemic, few predicted that a vaccine would be available within a year. But thanks to advanced technologies, surprisingly effective vaccines became available by the end of 2020 and spread throughout the globe the next two years.
Indonesia and the United States joined forces to use the newly devised medications and to rapidly upgrade distribution systems to confront the pandemic together, to limit the spread of a deadly disease and to treat those threatened by infection.
As a result of our combined efforts, we have dramatically reduced deaths and severe illness, and significantly limited the spread of COVID in Southeast Asia and the world.
We have learned valuable lessons from COVID-19, and are applying them to enhance health security going forward.
I applaud Minister Budi and his teams for their leadership in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia. And I thank the Republic of Indonesia for its strong commitment to global health security.
Throughout these three years, we have realized the value of delivering equitable and widespread support.
Indonesia is a magnificent and diverse country, and we take pride that our partnership reached the entire spectrum of social and economic classes. Indeed, it had to in order to be successful.
Together we are more resilient to withstand future health challenges.
Together we are stronger.
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