[Port-au-Prince] – The United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has officially transferred ownership to the Haitian government of the 37 brand-new ventilators in a handover ceremony held at St. Luke’s Hospital in Tabarre. The handover makes caring for critically ill COVID-19 patients with the U.S.-made, state-of-the-art ventilators immediately possible.
The U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Nicole Theriot, remarked, “The American people are proud to contribute to the fight against COVID-19 in Haiti, as well as respiratory care in the long-term. We salute all the brave people providing critical care on the frontlines of this battle.”
The handover ceremony, attended by Paul Ruddy Mentor, Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Health and Population, also marked the first distribution of 11 ventilators to St. Luke’s and St. Damien’s Hospitals. The remaining ventilators will be distributed to additional hospitals across the country in the coming days. In addition to the ventilators, USAID is funding a tailored package of support that includes installation, initial training for healthcare workers, and a one-year service agreement for maintenance.
Accepting the donation of these 37 ventilators on behalf of the Haitian government, Paul Ruddy Mentor declared: “Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, these ventilators will help Haitian doctors provide life-saving intensive care to patients with other serious and potentially fatal pulmonary, cardiac, or trauma illnesses. This significant contribution will undoubtedly serve to strengthen the health system in Haiti.”
Father Rick Frechette, Founder of the St. Luke’s Foundation for Haiti, while accepting the donation of the 11 ventilators that will be installed in St. Luke’s and St. Damien’s hospitals, noted: ‘“I can breathe!’ becomes the shout of gratitude of those whose lives can be saved by mechanical ventilation and who find a ventilator available for them. The Haitian Ministry of Health and the generous people of the United States of America can hear the huge shout of gratitude from the St. Damien’s and St. Luke’s teams for your tremendous gift of life –11 ventilators. This is a great day for the sickest of the sick in our hospitals, and we thank you sincerely.”
The United States has been the single largest contributor of foreign assistance to Haiti and has been a key partner in the Haitian health system for many decades now. Today, faced with one of the most significant global health crises in recent memory, the United States is again acting boldly and demonstrating clear and decisive leadership to support Haiti’s national COVID-19 response. The United States government, through USAID and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is investing more than $16 million to meet the immediate COVID-19 health needs of Haitians, while focusing on reducing widespread transmission.
From the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, USAID, CDC, and their partners jumped into action. USAID supported two major multimedia communication campaigns on hand washing and disease prevention, which are being broadcast through radio and TV and widely disseminated through social media, and community outreach to educate Haitian families on how to protect themselves and promote positive behaviors that help prevent the transmission of the virus in Haiti.
USAID is supporting communities to help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by establishing and managing hand washing stations at strategic points throughout major cities, distributing soap to vulnerable communities, and providing sanitation equipment to municipalities and low-income neighborhoods with little access to sanitation and water in Haiti.
USAID is also supporting COVID-19 case management centers, testing, contact tracing, and training of the healthcare providers in infection prevention and control, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
These 37 ventilators will help the health care providers at hospitals chosen by the Haitian Ministry of Health to treat patients who are severely affected by COVID-19. This donation delivers on President Trump’s generous offer of these critically needed supplies and supports Haiti’s urgent response to the pandemic.
Through an All-of-America approach, the United States is providing life-saving support by coordinating with the Government of Haiti and other stakeholders to identify priority areas for investment. Because an infectious disease threat anywhere can become a threat everywhere, the United States calls on other donors to contribute to the global effort to combat COVID-19.
For more information about USAID’s response to COVID-19, please visit: https://www.usaid.gov/coronavirus-covid-19.