U.S. Embassy Delivers Field Hospital in Mahikeng to Fight COVID-19 in the North West Province
The U.S. Embassy in South Africa is pleased to announce the donation of a new state-of-the-art field hospital in Mahikeng that will support South Africa’s efforts to fight COVID-19 in the North West Province. The $1.4 million (R21 million) hospital, handed over to the South African National Department of Health in November 2020, is already operational and is aiding in bolstering the capacity of the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital to treat COVID-19 patients.
The field hospital has 40 beds and is specifically designed for COVID patients through the use of negative air pressure and air sterilization technologies. Provided by the U.S. Department of Defense Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM), the field hospital was constructed in New Mexico in the United States before the U.S. Embassy’s Office of Defense Cooperation expedited its delivery and oversaw its assembly.
The donated field hospital is completely portable, meaning that it can continue to benefit South Africa’s medical professionals working in different hotspots in different stages of the pandemic. Beyond COVID-19, the hospital’s technology also makes it beneficial for combatting other airborne respiratory illnesses such as tuberculosis.
On the donation, John Groarke, the Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy says, “The United States is steadfast in our ongoing commitment to support South Africa’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Our hope is that this field hospital can be of maximum use to the heroic team of medical professionals at the Mahikeng Provincial Hospital and the National Department of Health in their ongoing efforts to save lives. The fact that our U.S. AFRICOM colleagues made this donation possible shows the breadth of the U.S.-South Africa defense and health cooperation.”
Dr Jody Mbuilu, FCFP, Head of Department Emergency & Family Medicine, Coordinator of COVID-19 response in Mahikeng Provincial Hospital added, “This Field Hospital has a double impact. It increases bed availability and quality of care for COVID patients and the safety of health workers with the negative pressure fitted in the Field Hospital. This is exactly what is needed for airborne disease. We have seen a miracle from the American people, a hospital growing in just one week out of nowhere.”
Jeanette R. Hunter, the Deputy Director General for Primary Health Care at the National Department of Health says, “The donation of this field hospital is timely given the second wave of COVID infections that is currently occurring.”
For more information, see this U.S. Department of Defense article: U.S. Donates Field Hospital to South Africa for COVID-19 Response.
“Lt. Col. Darrick Mosley, USAF, Chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, is joined by Dr. Jody Mbuilu, FCFP, Head of Department Emergency & Family Medicine Coordinator of COVID-19 response in Mafikeng Provincial Hospital along with Dr. Mabote, Clinical Manager, Dr. Mualu, Dr. Bakambana, Dr. Bopalamo and other officials to supervise the construction of the field hospital in November 2020.”