Remarks by Ambassador Leonard – COVID-19 Mobile Field Hospital Commissioning Ceremony

January 22, 202

The Honorable Minister of State for Health, Dr.  Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora
The Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Mashi Abdullahi
The Director General, Nigeria Center for Disease Control, (NCDC), Dr. Chikwe Ihekwazu
The Chairman of Board, Federal Medical Center, Jabi, Dr. Alex Tosan Ideh
The Chief Medical Director, Federal Medical Center, Jabi [name TBD]
Prof. Saad Ahmed, and his Management team
Members of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good morning. I am thrilled to be here with you all at this Federal Medical Center, the site of a beautiful new COVID-19 Field Medical Hospital that we are here to commission together in response to the COVID-19 outbreak here in Nigeria.
COVID-19 has really hit the world by storm. As of this week, there are almost 100 million cases worldwide, and Nigeria still remains one of the most affected countries in Africa, with over 100,000 confirmed positive cases.
While we all continue to face and overcome unprecedented challenges as a result of COVID-19, I would like to laud Nigeria’s efforts in taking early action to combat and mitigate its spread. Understandably, there is fatigue in the response. But I hope to see Nigeria continue on the currenttrajectory, as an example for other African nations to follow.
As we continue to combat COVID-19 together, today is a special day in our combined response. We are here to commission this new mobile field hospital. This hospital was donated by the United States Department of Defense, U.S. Africa Command, to the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health to assist in Nigeria’s effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The hospital is valued at $1.3 million USD. The hospital provides a negative pressure facility to isolate COVID patients and can support up to 40 patients at any given time.  It is our hope that this hospital will have a positive impact on Nigeria’s ability to stem the spread of COVID-19.
I would like to say a special thanks to all who worked very hard on the assembly of this hospital. It was a team effort and included members from the U.S. Embassy Centers of Disease Control, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, the vendor Alaska Systems, and many volunteers from this Federal Medical Center here at Jabi.
Due to COVID, the vendor could not travel to Nigeria to assist with the assembly and the training. As such, the team had to rely on virtual meetings via WhatsApp and instruction via PowerPoint slides. Despite these challenges, the assembly of the hospital was completed, and we are here today to witness what we can accomplish by working together. Thank you to everyone who made this possible.
Supporting the healthcare workers who are caring for patients at this facility and other treatmentfacilities across the country is critical to Nigeria’s effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The hospital here before us today is a testament to the continued partnership between our two countries. Through the support of the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Africa Command, this hospital will contribute to the safety of healthcare workers who are treating patients with COVID-19.
This year, as we celebrate 60 years of U.S.-Nigeria diplomatic relations, and many years of health partnerships, 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. We, the U. S. Government, will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with you to achieve these aims.
I remain proud of the strong friendship between our two countries. Working together in partnership with the Government of Nigeria and its citizens, the American people are committed to helping the country implement effective health efforts and improve its capacity to safely isolate and treat confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Thank you very much.