Feature   Defense News

Service Members at 2 U.S. Embassies Aid in Protective Equipment Transfer

June 12, 2020 | BY Army Lt. Col. Al Phillips , New York National Guard

U.S. Defense Department personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassies in South Africa and Eswatini met at the border between the two nations to hand off 11,250 plastic face shields, 12,400 filtering facepiece masks and 256 infrared thermometers earmarked for the Eswatini Ministry of Health.

"Today, the U.S. government, through the Department of Defense, is delivering vitally important equipment, including [personal protective equipment], to Eswatini to help prevent and combat COVID-19," said Ambassador Lisa J. Peterson. "We will continue to work with [the] government and our implementing partners to respond to this crisis in real and concrete ways."

A man on a large truck’s tailgate passes a cardboard box to a man on the ground.
PPE Partnership
Defense Department military personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassies in South Africa and Eswatini transfer medical protective equipment across the two nations’ common border, June 3, 2020. The embassy provided 11,250 plastic face shields, 124,000 filtering facepiece masks and 256 infrared thermometers to Eswatini to be used in controlling COVID19.
Photo By: Army Lt. Col. Al Phillips, New York National Guard
VIRIN: 200603-Z-A3538-1002C

Eswatini, with a population of 1.2 million, is working hard to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within its borders. The donated equipment was transferred from embassy personnel in South Africa to the embassy personnel in Eswatini to comply with South African COVID-19 quarantine policies and laws.

"Together, we are working to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, to protect people who are most vulnerable to contracting this disease and to preserve the advances Eswatini has made in the fight against HIV and AIDS," the ambassador said.

The donation of medical personal protective equipment from the U.S. to Eswatini is just one example of the ways the United States is supporting efforts to control COVID-19. The U.S. Embassy has already dedicated 22 medical and technical experts from the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DOD and the U.S. Agency for International Development to work directly on Eswatini's COVID-19 response.

Two service members and a civilian carry cardboard boxes.
PPE Transfer
Defense Department military personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassies in South Africa and Eswatini transfer medical protective equipment across the two nations’ common border, June 3, 2020. The embassy provided 11,250 plastic face shields, 124,000 filtering facepiece masks and 256 infrared thermometers to Eswatini to be used in controlling COVID19.
Photo By: Army Lt. Col. Al Phillips, New York National Guard
VIRIN: 200603-Z-A3538-1001C

These officials support national efforts, share technical expertise, provide training and offer a wealth of knowledge and experience in responding to this unprecedented public health threat, officials said. Through direct funding to partner organizations, the U.S. Embassy is supporting 50 clinics and 1,926 facility and community-based support staff to support the government COVID-19 response.

"This donation of PPE from [U.S. Africa Command] to the Kingdom of Eswatini exemplifies how, despite vast distances between our capitals, governments can still work together to face down common threats on behalf of our citizens," said Army Lt. Col. Darrick Mosley, the U.S. Embassy Office of Defense Cooperation chief.

The border transfer demonstrates a continued and enduring commitment to helping build a stronger health system in Eswatini, officials said, protecting people who are most vulnerable from disease and working together to defeat COVID-19.

Service members and civilians pose for a group photo.
COVID-19 Collaboration
Army Lt. Col. Darrick Mosley, the U.S. Embassy Office of Defense Cooperation Chief, and Dr. Simon Zwane, the Ministry of Health principal secretary of the Kingdom of Eswatini, pose for a photo with members of the Health Ministry and U.S. Embassy personnel from South Africa and Eswatini at the South Africa-Eswatini border after transferring medical protective equipment, June 3, 2020. Defense Department military personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassies in South Africa and the Kingdom of Eswatini transferred medical protective equipment across the border. The embassy provided 11,250 plastic face shields, 124,000 filtering facepiece masks and 256 infrared thermometers to Eswatini to be used in controlling COVID19.
Photo By: Army Lt. Col. Al Phillips, New York National Guard
VIRIN: 200603-Z-A3538-1003C

"We want to say, on behalf of his majesty's government, thank you for this partnership between the Kingdom of Eswatini and the U.S," Dr. Simon Zwane, the principal secretary of Eswatini's Ministry of Health. "We are so grateful to the American government for their generosity and warm heartedness, which they have shown not only in this COVID-19 pandemic but always. This PPE will go a long way in assisting the kingdom to respond more effectively to this pandemic, particularly to our beloved frontline workers."