The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), is providing an additional US$3.5 million (R59 million) to support the National Department of Health’s (NDoH) oxygen supply, demand, and reticulation strategy and their efforts to procure supplies and equipment needed for critical care beds. The funds will also be used to support emergency preparedness and planning efforts at the provincial level.
Led by the NDoH, USAID will work closely with South African oxygen manufacturers, like Afrox (Pyt) Ltd. and Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions South Africa, to increase their production by as much as eight times to meet COVID-19 needs. As part of its support to the NDoH, USAID is estimating the supplies and equipment required as well as working with engineers to increase hospitals’ capacity for oxygen support to critical care and general ward beds. These efforts support NDoH’s Surge Capacity and Case Management Teams to ensure that ventilators and other forms of oxygen therapy work properly, including the previously announced support for high-flow nasal cannula devices (equipment used to treat less severe patients who may not require the use of a ventilator) and the U.S. government-donation of up to 1000 ventilators. This will allow the South African government to efficiently meet the critical care needs of patients and prepare hospitals as COVID-19 cases increase.
“This oxygen support, in addition to our ventilator donation, will allow South African physicians and medical staff to respond to a variety of patient needs. When a global health crisis arises, America doesn’t wait to be called; we respond with timely, appropriate, and expert assistance,” said U.S. Ambassador Lana Marks.
These activities are being funded through the United States’ Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act to support the global health response to COVID-19 and will be managed by USAID’s partner, Right to Care, which also manages some of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) activities as a District Support Partner in Ehlanzeni and Thabo Mofutsanyana Districts.
Through an All-of-America approach, the United States is providing life-saving support by coordinating with the Government of South Africa and other stakeholders to identify priority areas for investment. With this announcement, the total U.S. government financial contribution to the COVID-19 response in South Africa is over $44 million (R736 million).
To read previous press releases on United States assistance to South Africa, please click here.
For more information on the U.S. global response to COVID-19, please go here.