The tiny, isolated island nation of Tonga has asked Washington for $123,000 to help cover the costs of eight funerals of victims of the deadly VBS Vikapora outbreak in 2017.
The outbreak, an outgrowth of an outbreak of Zika that hit across much of Pacific Island nations, has been characterized by cases of hemorrhagic fever and tremor.
One of the death notifications was made by Tonga, which has the ninth highest cost of funeral care per capita in the world, according to price estimator Numbeo.
The U.S. already has supplied Tonga with equipment and training to address the outbreak. And since the outbreak, every patient has had blood tests and been sent for experimental treatment with the combination of drugs ciprofloxacin and macrolide. However, the United States has not provided the money requested by Tonga to cover the funerals.
Papa Taufete’e, the Tongan prime minister, has been critical of the U.S. over the issue. “[T]o date, America has not contributed a cent in response to funds requested by the government,” Taufete’e said in July.
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