Remarks of the US Ambassador during the 50 Ventilators Handover Ceremony to the Government of Mozambique

US Ambassador to Mozambique Dennis Hearne giving his remarks on 50 ventilators handover ceremony

Your Excelency, Dr. Armindo Tiago, Minister of Health;

Honourable Representatives of the Implementation Partners;

Good morning/afternoon — It’s a privilege to join you here today in the spirit of partnership and goodwill.

I first want to commend President Nyusi, Health Minister Tiago, and the administration for their leadership and decisive action during this difficult time. The government of Mozambique’s early and ongoing response to the COVID-19 crisis has been robust.

And I hope what we are doing here today will help ensure this robust response continues.

Today, on behalf of the United States Government, I am honored to formally hand over 50 state-of-the-art ventilators to Minister Tiago and the people of Mozambique.

These devices are critical to Mozambique’s response to COVID-19. They could save many lives in health facilities across the country.

And it’s important to point out that these ventilators were produced specifically for Mozambique. Let me share a little bit about what makes them unique:

These ventilators will give Mozambique more flexibility in treating patients who are severely affected by COVID-19. That’s because they are compact, deployable, and support both invasive and non-invasive applications.  They have up to a 10-hour battery.  They can be used to care for adults and children.

These ventilators were manufactured by an American medical device company called Zoll. And they are being donated by the United States Government. USAID funding will soon enable training for intensive care unit specialists from the Mozambican health system on proper use of the ventilators.

In other words, today’s handover is made possible by the generosity of the American people and by the innovation of American private industry.

This is an important development in Mozambique’s fight against this terrible virus, but there is much more to be done.

Going forward, the United States Embassy will be working closely with Minister Tiago, MISAU officials in Maputo and medical professionals in the provinces to ensure the ventilators are quickly distributed, and to ensure that medical personnel are properly trained to use them.

Today’s ventilator donation is the latest piece of the nearly $14.8 million in U.S. funds supporting COVID-19 efforts in Mozambique.  We have donated personal protective equipment, known as PPE, and we have worked together on challenges such as water and sanitation, emergency food assistance, infection prevention and control, and much more.

The U.S. Government has specially designated over 30 experts to support MISAU and INS in the national COVID-19 response.

These experts are helping health facilities provide care and prepare for the pandemic;

They are supporting disease surveillance and contact tracing, including at airports and points of entry.

They are helping create and disseminate public health messages, and setting up call centers to answer questions from the public and health professionals.

And they are establishing teams to support INS and MISAU containment efforts in many provinces.

This is all part of our two countries’ longtime health partnership — a three-decade, multi-billion dollar partnership that has helped Mozambique prepare for the COVID-19 crisis.

Together, we partnered to develop testing and tracking systems to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic — and today Mozambique is using those effective, data-driven systems to track COVID-19.

We partnered on public education campaigns for HIV/AIDS, malaria and other serious health concerns — and today Mozambique is building on that experience to run an effective public education campaign on COVID-19.

In fact, even the location of today’s event is an example of successful cooperation. This warehouse was recently improved and expanded through the long and unique partnership between the Government of Mozambique and the United States.

We want to thank and recognize the men and women who work here at the Zimpeto warehouse and throughout the supply chain. The medical commodity distribution system is incredibly important to the well-being of Mozambicans.

And I want to again commend the persistent, collaborative effort by the Mozambican Government — this is proof of what cooperation can do.

We are facing an unprecedented global health threat — no country or community has escaped this pandemic.

In the United States, Americans are in a brutal fight against COVID-19 — but that won’t stop us from supporting our partner countries in their own battles with the virus.

Just as we have over the past three decades, the United States will continue to stand side-by-side with Mozambique as it faces this great challenge.

In fact, the challenge we face today requires continued cooperation not only between our two governments, but with other donors, the business community, civil society, and the people of Mozambique.

Now more than ever, it’s clear that only through partnership and cooperation can we ensure a healthy and prosperous future for all.

Estamos Juntos