August 11, 2020

Covid-19: US hands over 200 ventilators to Nigeria Govt


U.S. President Donald Trump wears a mask while visiting Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S., July 11, 2020. PHOTO: Reuters

BY Victoria Ojeme and Fortune Eromosele

The United States of America hands over 200 ventilators to support Nigeria’s efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

During a brief handover ceremony at the Premier Medical Warehouse, Abuja, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Berth Leonard, said “this donation and many other health and humanitarian assistance programs offered from the American People over the years, is just one component of the strong cooperation between our two governments.

“I laud Nigeria’s efforts in taking early action to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. I hope to see Nigeria continue this trajectory as an example for other African countries to follow.”

According to the US envoy the ventilators are compact, deployable, and will provide Nigeria with flexibility in treating Covid-19 patients. She said further that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is also funding a support package that includes accompanying equipment, medical supplies, technical assistance and service plans.

In collaboration with the USAID and the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, the Nigerian Ministry of Health will coordinate the expedient delivery, transportation, and placement of the ventilators in Covid-19 treatment centers and intensive care units across the country.

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Since the onset of the pandemic, the United States Government according to Leonard has provided Nigeria more than $54 million in Covid-19 assistance and will continue to support Nigeria’s prevention and response efforts, both now and in the future.

Receiving the donations on behalf of the Federal Government, Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, lauded the US President’s support to shore up Nigeria’s Intensive Care response capability adding that the ventilators are a critical component of the response strategy to save the lives of persons who have been severely impacted by the viral infection.

“I wish to convey the appreciation of Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and of the government of Nigeria, to President Donald Trump and the United States Government for the generous consideration and friendly gesture.

“We particularly appreciate that this gift comes against the backdrop that the United States is also fighting its own fierce battle against the COVID-19 plague. We wish them the very best in this challenge. We have witnessed the severity of the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on health systems, economy and social structure of all nations, especially on Low and Lower middle Income countries of the world”, he said.

Ehanire noted that since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Lagos on the 27th of February, life has also drastically changed for the country as Nigerians have worked hard to cope and, where necessary, adjust to the changes.

“The Federal Ministry of Health, and its public health Agency, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), have focused on providing guidance to tackle the challenges. Our health workers have been trained and equipped and are doing the needful to attend to COVID-19 patients and give emergency care, while not losing sight of routine and essential health services. I believe they, and the people of Nigeria, are encouraged and reassured, by the arrival of these ventilators to facilitate critical care aspects of treatment,” Ehanire added.

The Minister also commended United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States Center for Disease Control (USCDC) and the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Leonard, for their interest and engagement in Nigeria, even beyond the advent of COVID-19.

He tasked the United States Government to lend its full weight to global efforts to find efficacious therapeutics and vaccines to neutralize the threat of COVID-19 to the global community.

Also present at the event was the Country Director of USAID, Stephen Haykin among others.