A United States Air Force C-130J Super Hercules on Saturday delivered nearly R6 million worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the South African National Department of Health (NDoH), which will use it to support the fight against the coronavirus pandemic in Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu Natal.
The equipment arrived at OR Tambo International Airport on 15 August and comprises masks, gloves, medical gowns, and sanitizing supplies, the US Embassy said.
The US military’s Africa Command (Africom) also announced that is supporting the set-up of handwashing stations in Gauteng, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu Natal, contributing $225 000 (R4 million) to this initiative. This brings the total value of US support toward South Africa’s COVID-19 response to over $46 million (R808 million), the US Embassy said.
On the occasion of the C-130’s arrival at OR Tambo International Airport, US Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks told assembled media, “We are so proud of our growing partnership with South Africa’s National Defence Forces and our cooperation to ensure peace in the region. This delivery of lifesaving equipment, critically needed here in South Africa, shows how we can leverage the infrastructure of our strong defence cooperation to further bolster the US support to South Africa’s ongoing COVID-19 response.”
The United States has contributed to South Africa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the donation of over 12 000 FFP2 masks to the South African Military Health Service; the supply of over 250 infrared thermometers to the South African NDoH; the donation of 729 000 masks to the NDoH; and the donation of over 11 000 face shields manufactured locally by Ford Motor Company South Africa to the South African Military Health Service.
“US Africa Command is focused on mission and the fight against COVID-19. We’ve been working in close coordination with the Department of State and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide assistance where we can to the international COVID-19 response,” Lieutenant General Kirk Smith, Africom deputy commander said. “The contributions of critical personal protective equipment and supplies help South Africa and reflect our commitment to partnership in Africa.”
Separately, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief in Africa (PEPFAR) have worked side-by-side with the South African government throughout the COVID-19 response through the provision of ventilators, oxygen supply, and related training; lab support and preparedness; community health care worker support; and water and sanitation projects, the US Embassy noted.