U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador Michael J. Fitzpatrick and Consul General Brian S. Quigley, Jr. delivered two field hospitals, which U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) acquired for the Ecuadorean government. The official handover ceremonies were held on December 16, 2020, in Quito and Guayaquil, respectively.
The donation, made on behalf of the American people, is valued at $750,000. It was part of the ongoing assistance that SOUTHCOM provides to countries responding to the global pandemic in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, with funding from SOUTHCOM’s Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP).
Service members delivered the first mobile hospital to the Ministry of Public Health in the city of Quito — the institution of the Ecuadorean government provides public health services nationwide. The second mobile hospital went to the National Risk and Emergency Management Service in the city of Guayaquil, which is responsible for preventing and mitigating natural risks to benefit the civilian population.
In addition to the donated infrastructure, a team of civil facilitators trained technical personnel from both institutions on the use, assembly, disassembly, transport, and storage of the field hospitals.
“This pandemic remains a global challenge that no nation can face alone. We are all in this together, working collectively to overcome this great health crisis and help COVID-19 victims,” Ambassador Fitzpatrick said during the ceremony in Quito.
“This pandemic remains a global challenge that no nation can face alone. We are all in this together, working collectively to overcome this great health crisis and help COVID-19 victims,” Ambassador Fitzpatrick.
Along the same lines, during the ceremony in Guayaquil, Consul General Quigley said: “We are more resilient when we work together. Our region benefits from the strength of our unity, our resolve to help each other, and our commitment to protect our shared home.”
The mobile hospitals will support community health systems that treat a high number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Equipped with electric generators and air conditioning equipment, the hospitals are delivered ready for institutions to assign medical personnel and equipment and start their operations. Each mobile hospital can hold up to 40 beds.
SOUTHCOM’s support for COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts began in late March 2020, when the first COVID-19 infections were reported and countries requested U.S. government assistance.
The first phase of SOUTHCOM’s assistance focused on supporting countries’ immediate response to the pandemic, by providing necessary resources to first responders and front-line medical personnel to combat the virus and save lives. During this initial phase, donations included personal protective equipment, such as N-95 masks, gloves, face shields, and biosecurity and disposable suits, which were purchased locally. Other donations included medical supplies and equipment, as well as COVID-19 testing supplies.
The mobile hospitals donated on December 16 are part of the second phase of SOUTHCOM’s assistance to the region, which focuses on supporting long-term preparedness and prevention efforts.
Since the pandemic began, the U.S. government has provided more than $30 million in COVID-19 response assistance to Ecuador.