The United States (US) government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), has donated up to 1,000 ventilators and accompanying equipment to South Africa to assist with its fight against Covid-19.
These ventilators will assist South Africa in treating patients who are affected by the Covid-19 virus, they will be sent to all intensive care units in hospitals that can accommodate them. In Africa, the country has been hardest hit by the virus with 11,350 cases of Covid-19, 206 deaths and 4,357 recoveries so far.
Life-saving ventilator units are valued at $14 million, with the accompanying equipment, service plans, and shipping totalling over $20 million, the statement from the US Embassy said. It said the donated ventilators, produced in the US, reflect state-of-the-art and in-demand technology. “For more than a half-century, the US has been the largest contributor to global health security and humanitarian assistance.
These ventilators are another example of the American spirit of generosity as we battle this virus at home in the United States and together abroad with our partner countries,” said US ambassador Lana Marks.
According to the statement, South African minister of health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, and minister of trade, industry and competition, Ebrahim Patel, have both noted the urgent need for ventilator capacity and production and this donation responds to that call.
Prior to this donation, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has committed US$13.2 million in funding, along with US$8.4 million in assistance through USAID. The US department of defence has also provided the first in a series of donations of personal protective equipment (PPE). The total US government financial commitment to South Africa’s Covid-19 response is valued at over US$41.6 million (R767 million).
Through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the US is supporting up to 5,400 community healthcare workers also, to assist with the South African government’s community Covid-19 screening campaign and provide HIV treatment support on the front lines, the statement said.
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