PHOTO: Reuters

US donates 200 ventilators to aid Pakistan’s COVID-19 fight

First tranche of 100 ventilators handed over to NDMA, second to follow shortly

Hafeez Tunio July 03, 2020

As Pakistan’s healthcare system tries to keep up with the continuous influx of novel coronavirus patients, the United States will be donating 200 state-of-the-art ventilators to assist the country in overcoming the pandemic.

The US Agency of International Development (USAID) on Friday handed over the first tranche of 100 Vyaire LTV 1200 ventilators to country while announcing a second tranche of as many lifesaving systems will follow shortly.

Acting US Consul General Jack Hillmeyer handed over the ventilators to the acting chairperson of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Brig Waseemuddin and provincial representatives in a ceremony held at the Karachi Airport, officials said. Dr Tanweer Hussain who heads USAID Global Health Supply Chain in Sindh and Balochistan also attended the event.

"These new ventilators will enable Pakistan to more effectively treat patients suffering from COVID-19 in hospitals across the country," Hillmeyer said while speaking at the ceremony. "This donation delivers on President Donald Trump’s generous offer of these critically needed supplies and supports Pakistan’s urgent response to the pandemic," added a statement issued by the US embassy later in the day.

According the statement, the ventilators are valued at about $3 million and reflect the ‘latest in cutting-edge medical design and technology’. “The ventilators are compact, easily deployable, and will enable Pakistan to more effectively treat patients suffering from COVID-19,” it added.

US Charge d’Affaires Paul W Jones, in his statement, said: “The United States stands with Pakistan in its fight against coronavirus. These American-made ventilators will help Pakistani patients in the most acute need of medical care."

“The US-Pakistan health partnership to fight coronavirus is helping to improve and expand laboratory testing, disease monitoring, case tracking, infection prevention and control, and patient care,” Jones said. “The United States has contributed nearly $27 million in new funding so far to this vital partnership that is growing every day. We are also thankful for Pakistan's contribution of medical supplies to help fight coronavirus in the United States," he added.

Talking to reporters, Brig Waseem lauded the efforts of USAID-Pakistan, saying: “support in the form of 200 ventilators will go a long way in enhancing our medical response in these testing times.”

Although it is unclear how the ventilators will be distributed and deployed, an NDMA spokesperson said that this would be worked out in consultation with all provinces. “NDMA, on behalf of the Government of Pakistan, is pleased to receive the ventilators as a token of friendship from the government and people of the United States,” the spokesperson added.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, officials privy to developments said the 200 ventilators would boost Pakistan’s critical care capacity by 30 per cent. Although the number is far from certain, it is believe there around 1,500 ventilators in government hospitals across the country at present.

Regarding training to operate the ventilators, officials said Dr. Muhammad Tariq, Country Director Chemonics International and USAID contractor for Supply Chain Management will look after the modalities pertaining to distribution, warehousing, commissioning and product trainings on the use of the ventilators.


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