Washington DC: The United States has provided nearly $ 5.9 million in health assistance to India to slow the spread of COVID-19, the state department said on Thursday.

The amount is being used to help India hinder the spread of the disease by providing care for the affected, disseminating essential public health messages to communities and strengthen case-finding and surveillance, the state department said.

The assistance is also being used to mobilise innovative financing mechanisms for emergency preparedness and response to this pandemic.

"This builds on a foundation of nearly $ 2.8 billion in total assistance, which includes more than $ 1.4 billion in health assistance, the United States has provided to India over the last 20 years," it said in an update of the US efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state department and the US Agency for International Development have now committed nearly $ 508 million in emergency health, humanitarian, and economic assistance.

This is on top of the funding the US has already provided to multilateral and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are helping communities around the world deal with the pandemic.

In South Asia, America's COVID-19 assistance has gone to Afghanistan ($ 18 million), Bangladesh ($ 9.6 million), Bhutan ($ 5,00,000), Nepal ($ 1.8 million), Pakistan ($ 9.4 million) and Sri Lanka ($ 1.3 million).