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The United States’ Commitment to Supporting South Africa with COVID-19
September 3, 2020

U.S. Ambassador Lana Marks
U.S. Embassy Pretoria
September 3, 2020

The United States remains strongly committed to assisting South Africa in its fight against COVID-19.

Of the 1000 ventilators pledged by the United States, 785 ventilators have arrived in South Africa with an additional 200 expected this week. In August, I oversaw the successful delivery of COVID-19 related personal protective equipment (PPE), procured and delivered by USAFRICOM using Humanitarian Assistance funds and an USAF C-130J aircraft, to the South African National Department of Health (NDoH).

Beyond these ventilators and the other types of equipment and PPE that we have donated, the U.S. government COVID-19 financial assistance is managed by on-the-ground local health partners in close consultation with the NDoH and provincial departments of health. This funding for the COVID-19 response in South Africa has been provided to partners who have been implementing the COVID-19 response since March.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Defense procured a state-of-the-art, U.S. military-grade field hospital for donation to the South Africa later this month. Made in the USA by the same manufacturer that the United States military relies upon for its own deployable medical structures, this 40-bed hospital is specially designed for the treatment of COVID-19 patients because it uses a system of environmental control units to create negative air pressure within specific areas in the facility, thereby isolating COVID patients in a separate ward from health care professionals and non-COVID related patients. As the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, this technology will also benefit patients affected by tuberculosis or other airborne infectious diseases.

Finally, in order to protect the health of the children of South Africa, the U.S. Department of Defense will install hand washing basins in 131 schools in three provinces.

We share the desire of the South African government and people to conquer this pandemic and will remain steady in our support.