The US government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID), says it will provide an additional $3.5 million (R59 million) to support the South African health department’s oxygen supply, demand, and reticulation strategy.
The money will also go towards efforts to procure supplies, and equipment needed for critical care beds.
The funds will also be used to support emergency preparedness and planning efforts at the provincial level, the US embassy to South Africa said in a statement on Wednesday (15 July).
Led by the Department of Health, USAID will work with local oxygen manufacturers to increase their production by as much as eight times to meet Covid-19 needs, the embassy said.
“These efforts support the Department of Health’s surge capacity and case management teams to ensure that ventilators and other forms of oxygen therapy work properly, including the previously announced support for high-flow nasal cannula devices and the US government-donation of up to 1,000 ventilators.
“This will allow the South African government to efficiently meet the critical care needs of patients and prepare hospitals as Covid-19 cases increase,” it said.
US ambassador to South Africa, Lana Marks, said that the initiative will help both local patients and doctors.
“This oxygen support, in addition to our ventilator donation, will allow South African physicians and medical staff to respond to a variety of patient needs.
“When a global health crisis arises, America doesn’t wait to be called; we respond with timely, appropriate, and expert assistance,” she said.
With this latest announcement, the total US government financial contribution to the Covid-19 response in South Africa is over $44 million (R736 million), the embassy said.