By Adedayo Akinwale and Udora Orizu
The federal government on Tuesday finally received the 200 ventilators donated to it by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, for Covid-19 response.
On April 28, Trump had, in a phone call conversation with President Muhammadu Buhari, promised that his administration would send ventilators to Nigeria.
Speaking at the formal handover ceremony of the 200 ventilators by USAID/US government in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, expressed gratitude to President Trump and US government for the ventilators.
Ehanire said the ventilators will help to shore up its intensive care response capability.
He also said that the arrival of the ventilators will help encourage and reassure health workers and citizens as it will facilitate critical care aspects of treatment.
He appealed to the US government to lend its full weight to global efforts to find vaccines to neutralize the threat of Covid-19 to the global community.
The minister said: ”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.
“We particularly 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.
”I wish to also commend the United States Agency for International Development, the USCDC 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.
”The speed and ease with which Covid-19 has spread across the globe clearly shows that it is a threat to mankind. Without the full collaboration of all nations, the threat of Covid-19 to anyone part of the world is a threat to all. I salute and recognize the presence of members of the media here today, and also appreciate their role in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. They are important partners in the messaging strategy, which helps to give the correct picture to citizens and combat fear and panic. We value this partnership and shall work to strengthen it.”
In her remarks, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, assured Nigerians that the United States Agency for International Development (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 the ventilators across each of Nigeria’s states and the FCT.
Leonard while commending Nigeria’s efforts in taking early action to combat the spread of Covid-19, also reiterated
America’s commitment to working with the country to implement effective disease surveillance efforts.
She said: ”The 200 ventilators being transferred today are compact and portable, and can be easily mobilized to reach those patients with the most severe symptoms of COVID-19. Their arrival fulfills the commitment discussed between Presidents Trump and Buhari earlier this year. 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.
”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. As the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, I remain proud of the strong friendship between our two countries. Working together in partnership with this country’s government and its citizens, the American people are 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.”