Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Lisa Johnson at the USAID COVID-19 Laboratory Equipment Handover

U.S. Ambassador to Namibia, Lisa Johnson, tests a vortex mixer with the CEO of the Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP), Kapena Tjombonde (far left), and Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Esther Muinjangue (wearing blue protective gowns).

It is an honor for me to be here with you at this important occasion to mark yet another step in our continued fight against COVID-19, in a spirit of partnership and goodwill.

First, I would like to commend the Namibian government, Honourable Minister of Health and Social Services Dr. Shangula and his team for their leadership and decisive action during this difficult time of the pandemic. Namibia’s early and ongoing response to COVID-19 has been vigorous and effective. I hope what we are doing here today will help ensure this robust response continues unabated.

On behalf of the United States Government, I am pleased to hand over to the Namibia Institute of Pathology (NIP), and the people of Namibia 30 centrifuges, 15 vortex mixers, 12 biosafety cabinets, 10 refrigerators and 10 freezers.

This high-tech laboratory equipment valued at more than US$420,000 or N$6.2 million was funded through USAID and procured by its Global Health Supply Chain Program – Procurement and Supply Management Project. The items will be distributed throughout Namibia and will be used to strengthen laboratory capacity, provide a safer working environment for laboratory staff, and increase the availability of temperature-controlled storage for samples and tests.

This is part of the N$100M donation to fight COVID-19 that was announced by the U.S. Embassy in April 2020.

Of the total funds provided, the U.S. Government has allocated US$1.2 million, or N$18M, for direct laboratory testing support since the pandemic began. This equipment will increase Namibia’s testing capacity for the novel coronavirus and help save Namibian lives across the country.

Our two governments have successfully partnered on many health issues over the past decades, especially in the fight against HIV/AIDS. And today, Namibia can build on that experience and success to implement an effective COVID-19 campaign.

This lab equipment donation delivers on the United States’ promise to assist Namibia as we all battle this virus. We are in this together. America remains committed to contributing to global health security and humanitarian assistance worldwide, including here in Namibia.

The United States Embassy will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Health and Social Services to ensure the promotion of quality health care and the treatment of infectious diseases. We appreciate our strong collaboration with the Namibian government in this endeavor.

Let’s not forget that we are facing an unprecedented global health threat. No country or community has escaped the COVID-19 pandemic and millions of lives have been lost. The challenge we face today necessitates continued cooperation not only between our two governments, but with other donors, the business community, civil society organizations, and the people of Namibia.

I would like to reiterate that the U.S. government remains committed to supporting Namibia and the rest of the world in fighting the novel coronavirus.

On an international level, the U.S. Biden Administration has pledged up to US$4 billion for the global COVAX initiative to ensure that a100 lower and middle-income countries will receive COVID-19 vaccines, including Namibia.

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to express my sincere appreciation and thanks to all the health care workers who so selflessly put their lives on the line for their Namibian brothers and sisters. Keep up the good work! We are forever indebted to you.

I thank you.