US Strengthens Collaboration with Ecuador in COVID-19 Fight
By U.S. Embassy in Ecuador/Edited by Diálogo Staff August 17, 2020
On August 5, the United States delivered 200 state-of-the-art ventilators and support equipment to help Ecuador respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and save lives. During a ceremony at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, U.S. Ambassador Michael J. Fitzpatrick presented the donation to Ecuadorean Vice President María Alejandra Muñoz, who was accompanied by the minister of Public Health, Juan Carlos Zevallos López. Following the arrival of the first 50 ventilators in July, this shipment fulfilled the promise of U.S. President Donald Trump of sending 250 ventilators to Ecuador. The more than $23 million in COVID-related assistance reflects the excellent bilateral relationship between the United States and Ecuador.
At their first meeting since Vice President Muñoz took office, Ambassador Fitzpatrick said, “Both the United States and Ecuador are enduring extreme hardships as a result of this virus. Thanks to the close partnership established between the American and Ecuadorean governments, together we will continue to fight this pandemic, rebuild our economies, get back on our feet, and move forward.”
The 250 donated U.S.-manufactured LTV 1200 ventilators reflect leading-edge and in-demand technology. They are compact and deployable, and provide Ecuador with flexibility in treating COVID-19 patients. For those who have inadequate lung function despite receiving oxygen, this vital resource may prove lifesaving. To complement the ventilators, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding a package of additional support, which includes accompanying equipment, service plans, and technical assistance.
In addition to the 250 ventilators, the U.S. Embassy is taking additional steps to help Ecuador in the fight against COVID-19:
- As part of the “All of America” approach, which leverages the U.S. private sector and civil society in the fight against COVID-19, the United States also sent in that same week a donation from Gilead Sciences consisting of the first non-trial shipment of Remdesivir. This promising anti-viral medicine, which this U.S. pharmaceutical company researched and developed, has proven to be effective in treating patients suffering from COVID-19 symptoms. It is expected that this first Remdesivir shipment will treat more than 300 critically ill Ecuadorean patients.
- On August 5, the U.S. Embassy announced an additional $4.3 million in U.S. Department of State funding, through its Bureau of Population, Migration, and Refugees, to the anti-COVID efforts of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ecuador. This continuing support includes emergency food assistance; assistance to the health sector; personal protective equipment for frontline responders in hospitals, clinics, and municipalities; COVID-19 test kits; and technical assistance in areas of emergency response.
- A thermocycler for COVID-19 testing arrived on August 4 for the Quito National Public Health Institute, as part of a larger $300,000 donation to Ecuador through the International Atomic Energy Agency. The thermocycler is the third machine of its kind in Quito, and is critical to Ecuador’s strategy to keep the virus at bay. Currently, there is a demand for 1,500 tests daily, but the two existing thermocyclers can only analyze 800 tests a day. This additional thermocycler, combined with the one the United States sent previously to the Guayaquil National Public Health Institute, vastly expands Ecuador’s testing capability.
For decades, the United States has been the world’s largest provider of bilateral health assistance. Since 2009, U.S. taxpayers have generously funded more than $100 billion in international health assistance and nearly $70 billion in humanitarian assistance.