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US oxygen donation boosts Lesotho’s fight against Covid-19 

Limpho Sello

THE United States (US) government has donated four oxygen concentrators to the Berea Government Hospital in Teyateyaneng as part of efforts to boost Lesotho’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The oxygen concentrator is a medical device used for delivering oxygen to patients whose oxygen levels are low and unable to breathe properly on their own. Oxygen deprivation and respiratory challenges are some of the adverse symptoms associated with the deadly Covid-19 virus which has so far infected 140 598 074 and killed 3 014 234 of these globally.

Lesotho had recorded 10 717 infections and 316 deaths by yesterday.

Speaking at the handover ceremony in Teyateyaneng, the US Embassy Chargé de’ Affaires, Clinton Brown, said equipment donation is part of a consignment of 36 oxygen concentrators that have been distributed across nineteen health facilities.

“This equipment handover underscores the underlying reality that Covid-19 is still a very serious health challenge,” Mr Brown said, adding health systems had been brought to their knees by the pandemic while global economies had collapsed with massive job losses being recorded.

“We all must remain vigilant in our efforts to counter this devastating pandemic. Each of us still has an important role to play – from frontline healthcare workers across facilities like the one we are at today to ordinary Basotho from Tele to Mechachane. We cannot afford to be complacent, especially with warnings of a possible third wave by international health experts. Everyone in Lesotho has to contribute to the national efforts.”

In a subsequent statement, the US embassy in Lesotho said, “the oxygen concentrator donation demonstrates the United States government’s broader efforts to support the health and well-being of the Basotho people and specifically to strengthen Lesotho’s ability to fight COVID- 19.

“It builds on the strong relationship that has spanned for over half a century. Over the past year, the United States government has provided US$5, 25 million (about M81 million) to the Covid-19 response in Lesotho, focusing on Covid testing, clinical care, surveillance, and vaccine preparedness.

“In addition to the oxygen concentrators, the United States Department of Defence has coordinated donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies to aid frontline healthcare workers and testing supplies to increase Lesotho’s testing capacity. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) supports the Ministry of Health by training health care workers in Covid-19 critical clinical care; supportive supervision of health facilities; and district-specific planning and rollouts. The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided critical technical assistance to strengthen infection control, surveillance, and laboratory activities across Lesotho.

On her part, the Ministry of Health’s Director Clinical Services, Lucy Mapota, thanked the US government for “its unwavering support as the global community battles Covid-19”.

“This donation comes at the right time; we lost patients due to a lack of equipment. We pray a third wave of infections does not hit our country but we must be prepared.

“This equipment is vitally needed for our response. We are also pleased that we are receiving the oxygen concentrators at this (Berea) hospital because it is the largest Covid-19 treatment centre in Lesotho. The donation is not only helpful for Covid but for our general health system,” Dr Mapota said.






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