Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard – Ventilator Handover Ceremony

Abuja Premier Medical Warehouse

I am delighted to join you here today at the Abuja Premier Medical Warehouse – which, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health, USAID commissioned in 2017 — as the U.S. government presents life-saving equipment to the Government of Nigeria and its citizens.

The 200 ventilators being transferred today are compact and portable, and can be easily mobilized to reach those patients with the most severe symptoms of COVID-19.  Their arrival fulfills the commitment discussed between Presidents Trump and Buhari earlier this year.

Our support includes training on the use and maintenance of this equipment, ensuring that the ventilators can address other respiratory illnesses in the years beyond the virus.  USAID will work very closely and energetically over the next couple of weeks with the Ministry of Health and the Presidential Task Force to bring these ventilators across each of Nigeria’s states and the FCT.

In fighting the COVID pandemic, it is critically important that doctors have adequate access to medical oxygen, as these ventilators depend on a reliable supply to be effective in treating patients with severe symptoms.

The United States has been pivotal in supporting Nigeria’s membership in the ‘Every Breath Counts’ Coalition.  Nigeria is now one of just two countries in Africa to have an “oxygen roadmap” that seeks to fight against pneumonia, hypoxemia, and now COVID-19.

While we all continue to face 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.  I hope to see Nigeria continue this trajectory, as an example for other nations to follow.

As the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, I remain proud of the strong friendship between our two countries.  Working together in partnership with this country’s government and its citizens, the American people are committed to working with Nigeria to implement effective disease surveillance efforts and to improve its capacity to safely isolate and treat confirmed cases as we look ahead to a virus-free Nigeria.

Thank you very much.