U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica Sharon Day delivered three field hospitals, purchased by U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), to the Costa Rican government during an official donation ceremony August 24 in San José.
The donation of $1.1 million is part of SOUTHCOM’s ongoing assistance to nations responding to the global pandemic in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean and funded by SOUTHCOM’s Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP).
The field hospitals will be delivered to the Costa Rican Social Security Fund, the Costa Rican government agency that provides public health services nationwide.
A team of civilian trainers will instruct staffs assuming the operation of the transportable hospitals on their assembly, setup, use, disassembly, transportation, and storage.
Earlier that week, SOUTHCOM also delivered the first of two field hospitals it will donate to the Dominican Republic.
In total, SOUTHCOM will donate 24 field hospitals to 11 countries in the coming weeks.
The transportable hospitals will support community health care systems experiencing a high volume of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Though each donation will be based on host-nation needs, most field hospitals will be equipped with generators and air conditioning equipment. They will be delivered ready for requesting governments to staff, equip, and operate. Each field hospital can house up to 40 beds for patients.
SOUTHCOM’s support to COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts began in late March, as the first signs of COVID-19 infections emerged and nations requested assistance from the U.S. government.
The first phase of SOUTHCOM’s assistance focused on supporting the countries’ immediate response to the pandemic by providing much-needed resources, procured locally, to first responders and health care providers on the front lines of the battle to defeat the virus and save lives. During that initial phase, More than 80 HAP projects donated personal protective equipment, consisting of N-95 masks, gloves, face shields, protective coveralls, and disposable aprons. Medical supplies, medical equipment, and COVID-19 testing supplies were also donated during the initial phase.
The field hospitals are among the donations funded in the second phase of SOUTHCOM’s assistance to the region, which is focused on supporting the region’s long-term preparedness and prevention efforts.
To date, SOUTHCOM has funded more than 290 HAP projects, purchasing more than $16 million in supplies, equipment, and other vital resources to support the COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts of 28 nations. In total, the U.S. government has provided more than $135 million in COVID-19 response assistance to the region.
HAP helps partner nations build their disaster readiness, response, and mitigation capabilities. The program funds infrastructure, equipment, and training to help nations prepare before disasters and crises strike, but also supports countries who request assistance from the U.S. government when they experience health and weather-related emergencies.
The countries assisted under HAP so far are Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.