The U.S. government on Tuesday donated 200 life-saving ventilators to Nigeria as a fulfilment to help Nigeria in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, said the 200 ventilators being transferred are compact, portable and can easily be mobilised to reach patients with the most severe symptoms of COVID-19
The U.S Ambassador said earlier this year that the American government are working hard to send ventilators to Nigeria.
Her comment came following a phone conversation between President Muhammadu Buhari and his U.S counterpart, in which the latter promised to assist Nigeria in fighting the pandemic.
“This donation consists of 200 ventilators, which, as we all know by now, are a critical component of the response strategy to save the lives of persons who have been severely impacted by this viral infection.
“They will certainly be of great benefit to the people of Nigeria and I wish to convey the appreciation of His Excellency 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.
“Our support includes training on the use and maintenance of this equipment, ensuring that the ventilators can address other respiratory illnesses in the years beyond the virus.
“USAID will work very closely and energetically over the next couple of weeks with the Ministry of Health and the Presidential Task Force to bring these ventilators across each of Nigeria’s states and the FCT.
“In fighting the COVID pandemic, it is critically important that doctors have adequate access to medical oxygen, as these ventilators depend on a reliable supply to be effective in treating patients with severe symptoms.
“The United States has been pivotal in supporting Nigeria’s membership in the ‘Every Breath Counts’ Coalition. Nigeria is now one of just two countries in Africa to have an “oxygen roadmap” that seeks to fight against pneumonia, hypoxemia, and now COVID-19,” Leonard said.
Ms Leonard lauded Nigeria’s effort in combating the virus and efforts of the country in taking early action to combat and mitigate its spread.”
“I hope to see Nigeria continue this trajectory as an example for other nations to follow,” Leonard added.
She said the American people remain committed to working with Nigeria to implement effective disease surveillance efforts and to improve its capacity to safely isolate and treat confirmed cases as we look ahead to a virus-free Nigeria.
Receiving the ventilators on behalf of the Federal Government, Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said the ventilators were valuable equipment to support Nigeria in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Mr Ehanire said the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), acting on behalf of the United States Government, invited him to receive the ventilators on behalf of the Government of Nigeria.
The Minister noted that the delivery of the medical ventilators, courtesy of the President and people of the United States of America, will help boost Nigeria’s intensive care response capability.
“We 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.
“I wish to also commend the United States Agency for International Development, the US Center for Disease Control and the US Ambassador to Nigeria – Her Excellency Mary Beth Leonard, for their interest and engagement in Nigeria, even beyond the advent of COVID-19.
“Her Excellency has demonstrated personal concern by paying a solidarity visit to the Federal Ministry of Health,” Ehanire said.
Mr Ehanire, however, called on 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 and to guarantee fair allocation to all countries and people.
“The speed and ease with which COVID-19 has spread across the globe clearly show that it is a threat to mankind.
“Without the full collaboration of all nations, the threat of COVID to any one part of the world is a threat to all,” Ehanire also said.
“We 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,” Mr Ehanire said.
Mr Ehanire further said the nation 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.
Also speaking, the Director-General of the NCDC, Chikwe Ihekweazu, said the more the ventilators, the more chances for people to survive COVID-19.
Mr Ihekweazu, who was represented by the Agency’s Director of Lab Services, Nwando Mba, said the additional ventilators will support Nigeria’s response to not just COVID-19 but also intensive care.
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The NCDC D-G said most of the COVID-19 related deaths were as a result of respiratory complications as he reiterates the benefits of the additional ventilators.
Mr Ihekwazu also appreciated the U.S government for its many support and the donation of ventilators.
Last April, the Nigerian government went on social media to, in a now-deleted tweet, beg the founder of Tesla Inc, Elon Musk for ventilators.