Handover of AFRICOM-Supported COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment

(Abuja, Nigeria)  The United States Department of Defense (DoD), through the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), provided personal protective equipment (PPE) worth $144,000 to support COVID-19 prevention in military and civilian medical facilities in Lagos, Kano, Akwa-Ibom, and Cross River States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The ceremonial PPE handover to the Nigerian military took place at the 063 Nigerian Air Force Hospital (NAFH) in Abuja. The Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Alhaji Babangida Hussaini, and the U.S. Charge d’Affaires, Kathleen FitzGibbon, presided over the event.

The Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ohanire, inaugurated the 063 NAFH as a COVID-19 treatment center in June 2020. It is the primary military COVID-19 isolation and treatment center in Abuja and actively contributes to the national response by admitting, treating, and releasing COVID-19 patients. It has long served as a medical treatment facility for infectious and non-infectious diseases and is part of the network of military sites offering comprehensive HIV care and treatment to both military and civilians.

The Nigerian Ministry of Defence (NMOD) Health Implementation Programme (MODHIP) serves as the implementation arm of the NMOD COVID-19 response and has worked with the Armed Forces COVID-19 Committee, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme, and multiple U.S. government agencies to support pandemic mitigation in Nigeria. NMOD, with support from the U.S. DoD, has contributed to the national response by establishing 18 treatment sites and four COVID-19 sample collection sites, and training over 150 health personnel on COVID-19 case management and infection prevention and control. The Defence Reference Laboratory (DRL) in Abuja, co-staffed by NMOD and DoD, has also been actively involved in the COVID-19 efforts and is a key contributor to the national testing network. As of November 1, DRL has tested more than 7,500 COVID-19 samples, mostly from the FCT (NNPC) and Nasarawa, Enugu, and Imo States, though its coverage is open to all labs across Nigeria.

The U.S. DoD contribution is emblematic of the longstanding partnership between the U.S. and Nigerian militaries and is another component of the more than $57 million in support provided by the U.S. Government to the COVID-19 response in Nigeria. Highlighting this support during the pandemic and the more than 60 years of diplomatic relations between the United States and Nigeria, the U.S. Charge d’Affaires in her remarks stated, “It is deeply satisfying for me to look back on the many ways we have worked together to improve the health, safety, and security of the Nigerian people. Maintaining the health and security of Nigerian citizens is of utmost importance, and the health of the military members is critical to maintaining the security of the country.”