On October 22, the U.S. government donated two field hospitals to Guatemala’s Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance to support the fight against COVID-19. The hospitals have a total capacity of 80 patients and are equipped with water, power, air conditioning, and heating inside. The generators and 80 beds were also part of the donation.
U.S. Southern Command and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) carried out the donation, valued at more than $548,000, through U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala William Popp, at the Mariscal Zavala Military Brigade in Guatemala City.
On its Facebook page the U.S. Embassy indicated that the hospitals would support medical care in the Huehuetenango y Cobán communities.
“We are receiving two fully equipped field hospitals that will be set up in areas where the COVID-19 [situation] is most complicated, where there is less coverage; we thank the U.S. government for this donation that will strengthen our activities,” Health Minister Amelia Flores said during the handover ceremony.
For his part, Ambassador Popp stated: “The people of Guatemala have shown a great capacity to recover from this pandemic, taking strong and proactive measures to combat its spread. It is an honor to join […] to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and ratify our support for the Guatemalan people.”
Guatemalan Army Colonel Rubén Tellez, director of the Ministry of Defense’s Press Office, told Diálogo that Guatemalan Army personnel, through the Humanitarian and Rescue Battalion, have been trained to set up the hospitals received and have provided strong support to government efforts to combat the pandemic.
“The Guatemalan Army was actively involved in setting up temporary hospitals in Guatemala City, in Zacapa, Quetzaltenango, and Petén departments, in the Northern Air Command’s infirmary… thus increasing state capacity by more than 700 additional beds,” the officer said.
The field hospitals join 12 military medical tents, 142 folding cots, and two power generators, valued at more than $240,000, that the U.S. government has donated to Guatemala to support their COVID-19 detection and treatment efforts.
“I am grateful once again for this important effort of the U.S. government for Guatemala; we promise that [the equipment] will be used in the best way,” Minister Flores concluded.