US donates personal protective equipment to Eswatini

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The US Department of Defence has donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to Eswatini, including face shields, facepiece masks and infrared thermometers.

The equipment was handed over on 8 June at the Oshoek border between South Africa and Eswatini, the US military said. The Eswatini Ministry of Health was given 11 250 plastic face shields, 12 400 filtering facepiece masks, and 256 infrared thermometers.

“Today, the US government, through the Department of Defence, is delivering vitally important equipment, including PPE, to Eswatini to help prevent and combat COVID-19,” said Ambassador Lisa Peterson. “We will continue to work with government and our implementing partners to respond to this crisis in real and concrete ways.

“Together, we are working to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, to protect people who are most vulnerable to contracting this disease, and to preserve the advances Eswatini has made in the fight against HIV and AIDS.”

The equipment was transferred from the embassy personnel in South Africa to the embassy personnel in Eswatini, which is landlocked by South Africa and Mozambique, in order to comply with South African COVID-19 quarantine policies and law.

“We want to say on behalf of his majesty’s government—thank you for this partnership between the Kingdom of Eswatini and the US,” said Principal Secretary Eswatini Ministry of Health, Dr Simon Zwane. “This PPE will go a long way in assisting the kingdom to respond more effectively to this pandemic, particularly to our beloved frontline workers.”

The US Embassy has dedicated 22 medical and technical experts from President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, the US Centres for Disease Control, the Department of Defence, and the United States Agency for International Development to work directly on Eswatini’s COVID-19 response. These officials support national efforts, share technical expertise, provide training, and offer a wealth of knowledge and experience in responding to this unprecedented public health threat, the US military said.

“This donation of PPE from US Africa Command to the Kingdom of Eswatini exemplifies how despite vast distances between our capitals, governments can still work together to face down common threats on behalf of our citizens. COVID-19 is a global problem that requires global action,” said US Embassy Office of Defence Cooperation Chief, Lt Col Darrick Mosley.

Through direct funding to partner organizations, the US Embassy is supporting 50 clinics and 1 926 facility and community-based support staff to support the government COVID-19 response. This funding builds on investments in Eswatini to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic, control tuberculosis and malaria, and build capacity to respond to other public health threats.