U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. David Young
Handover of COVID Medical Supplies
Lusaka Provincial Health Office, Lusaka, Zambia
September 3, 2020
(as prepared for delivery)
Honorable Minister of Health, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Technical Services, Dr. Kennedy
Provincial Health Director, Lusaka, Dr. Consity Mwale
Ladies and gentlemen
All other protocols observed.
Good morning. It is a great pleasure to join you today, albeit virtually. On behalf of the U.S. government, I am happy to announce a donation of K38 million ($2.1 million) in life-saving medical supplies in support of the Zambian government’s national response to COVID-19.
These items include pulse oximeters, oxygen concentrators, personal protective equipment, and various medicines for the clinical management of COVID-19. The medical supplies will help frontline healthcare workers provide care for patients with COVID-19 and strengthen public health capacity in Zambia to contain the pandemic and minimize its impact. Moreover, this donation will boost the collective effort aimed at managing and curtailing the spread of the deadly virus at the on Frontlines or the response.
We have come to learn that COVID-19 does not respect borders. The entire world is facing the threat of COVID-19 with millions of people infected and hundreds of thousands having succumbed to the disease.
The picture in Zambia has not been much different, with thousands of people infected and more than 280 deaths. The pandemic has changed how we conduct our daily lives and, in some cases, generated fear and uncertainties in our communities. A pandemic of this magnitude requires concerted efforts from the national and international community to implement comprehensive strategies to suppress transmission, save lives, and minimize the social and economic impact of the virus.
Since the outbreak in Zambia, the U.S. government, through its agencies, has expanded support to the Zambian government to provide critical health supplies for healthcare facilities nationwide. In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have provided technical assistance for national planning efforts in response to the pandemic in Zambia.
The U.S. government has provided more than K332 million ($17 million) in assistance to support COVID-19 mitigation activities across health, education, and economic development sectors. These efforts strengthen laboratory and clinical systems, provide essential commodities, strengthen infection prevention control, provide access to water, sanitation and hygiene , and disseminate COVID-19 information you can hear on radio, see on television, and read in the newspapers.
Thanks to our partnership with the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), Lusaka Provincial Health Office, and DISCOVER-Health, we have distributed supplies at the COVID-19 treatment centers across the country, such as oxygen, equipment, and critical life-saving medication. These medical supplies, valued at over K142 million ($7.3 million), are reinforcing the national health response in Zambia.
The U.S. government recognizes and applauds the efforts of the Zambian government, notably the Ministry of Health, the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI), and other line ministries, in working with cooperating partners to provide high-quality, affordable care to the citizens of Zambia. Specifically, we commend the leadership and coordination that have produced measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
We also recognize Zambia’s frontline healthcare professionals who are working hard to keep Zambians protected from COVID-19. These health workers who provide emergency care, while not losing sight of their daily essential life-saving health responsibilities, need the continued support and encouragement of all of us.
I would like to also take this opportunity to remind us all to reflect on the progress we have made and the lessons we have learned, and to recommit ourselves to doing everything we can to save lives.
Let us adhere to the “five golden rules”:
1. Mask up (wear masks consistently and correctly);
2. Maintain physical distancing;
3. Frequently wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer;
4. Avoid crowded places and stay at home if you don’t have to go out; and
5. If you develop any symptoms, seek medical attention immediately
This is probably the most important point; please seek medical care in time before it is too late. The nation’s COVID-19 treatment centers stand ready and are saving lives every day by providing oxygen and medications.
We will continue our commitment to helping Zambia respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. To do this, we need to remain vigilant and continue our good work together. I look forward to continuing our effective collaboration.
Stay safe. Zikomo.