On January 22, 2021 Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard joined Honorable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, to commission a mobile field hospital donated by the United States Government to help Nigeria’s effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The field hospital is located at the Federal Medical Center, in Jabi, Abuja. The field hospital includes four fully equipped, negative pressure isolation facilities with the capacity to house up to 40 patients. It also includes an administrative unit, a 160-kw auxiliary generator, and other support equipment such as beds, subfloors, showers, and lavatories.
In her remarks during the commissioning ceremony, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard, noted that the $1.3 million (USD) field hospital is a testament to the continued partnership between the US and Nigeria. This facility was donated to the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health by the United States Department of Defense’s U.S. Africa Command, with support from the U.S. CDC, and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). It was built in the U.S.A and manufactured by Alaska Structures, and assembled in Abuja by an all-Nigerian team.
Ambassador Leonard remarked that “As we celebrate 60 years of U.S.-Nigeria diplomatic relations, and many years of health partnerships, it is deeply satisfying to look back on the many ways we have worked together to improve the health, safety, and security of the Nigerian people.” She then continued that the U. S. Government will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Nigeria to achieve these aims and remain committed to helping the country implement effective health efforts and improve its capacity to safely isolate and treat confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Ambassador Leonard further noted that in addition to providing isolation capacity, “Supporting the healthcare workers who are caring for patients at this facility and across the country, is critical to Nigeria’s effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
The commissioning ceremony took place on Friday, January 22 and was hosted by Dr. Senator Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora, on behalf of the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, and the Federal Government of Nigeria. It was witnessed by top government officials in the health sector including Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi, the Permanent Secretary, and Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi, Director of Hospital Services at the Federal Ministry of Health. Other participants included the Director-General of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, and the Chairman of Committee of Chief Medical Directors in Tertiary Hospitals in Nigeria, who is also the CMD at the National Hospital, Abuja, Dr. Jack Momoh.
The United States has donated more than $488 million in equipment, training and education to help African countries combat COVID-19, and more than $73 million of those donations have been here in Nigeria. This includes the delivery of 200 ventilators, epidemiological COVID detection surveys, technical assistance, and service plans. Over 60 members of the U.S. Mission in Nigeria — from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), USAID, and the U.S. Department of Defense’s Walter Reed Army Institute of Research — stood side by side with Nigerian counterparts at the National Center for Disease Control, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Presidential Task Force and Nigerian military to strategize, plan, and effectively implement treatment of Nigerian citizens over the past eleven months.