Acting Administrator John Barsa’s Remarks at Ventilator Donation Announcement in Kenya

Speeches Shim

Monday, October 5, 2020

Hello and hamjambo. I’m John Barsa, Acting Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID. It’s an honor to speak with you all today.

The United States and Kenya have enjoyed a deep partnership and friendship for many decades. We have worked together for nearly 60 years in many areas, including to mitigate the spread of infectious diseases by building up health systems and infrastructure.

With the onset of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, USAID has been an important partner in Kenya’s response. We have worked with the Government of Kenya and local and international organizations to provide equipment, increase testing, and enhance research capacity. Our programs have improved water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure; ensured children have access to an education; helped keep Kenyans employed; and bolstered the systems that bring food from farms to markets.

In addition to the $50 million that we have already committed to Kenya’s COVID-19 response, I am pleased to announce today that we are donating 200 state-of-the-art ventilators to support the Kenyan people. This donation marks an important milestone in the U.S. Government’s support for Kenya, as we fight the pandemic together. Like our decades-long support, the donation of these ventilators is based on a relationship of partnership and mutual respect.

For more than half a century, the U.S. has been the world’s largest contributor to global health security and humanitarian assistance. We continue to help friends and allies with the pandemic response. And we are leading the global response to COVID-19 through an All-of-America approach that includes businesses, non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups, and more.

In Kenya, our commitment has included nearly $5.25 billion—or 570 billion Kenyan shillings—since 2010 to improve the health of Kenyans through services for HIV, maternal and child health, malaria, and tuberculosis. Our support is extensive, and Kenya consistently ranks among the countries in sub-Saharan Africa that receive the most support from the United States.

COVID-19 can make it difficult for patients to breathe without assistance. These ventilators will enable health providers in Kenya to deliver quality care that could save lives. This donation complements Kenya’s ongoing efforts to combat COVID-19 and demonstrates the continued commitment of the United States to support Kenyans through this crisis.

American manufacturing is among the best in the world, and the U.S. is proud to deliver these ventilators made in the USA to Kenya. The provision of these brand new, high-quality ventilators is possible through the generosity of the American people and the innovation of American private industry.

And not only are we delivering these state-of-the-art ventilators, but we are also providing the training necessary to properly operate them and the consumables needed to put them to use. In addition, these ventilators come with a one-year service agreement to ensure that they remain ready to use when they are needed most.

While other countries have swept in to provide temporary assistance in exchange for a photo op, USAID is building on our strong history of cooperation with Kenya to achieve durable results. When this crisis passes, Kenya will have stronger systems in health, education, and food security thanks to USAID’s support. We’re proud of this model of assistance that sees countries like Kenya as true partners with shared goals, rather than a resource to be exploited.

Again, it’s a pleasure to be able to celebrate this delivery and the deeper history and respect between the U.S. and Kenya. We look forward to our continued partnership and collaboration.

Thank you, Dr. Aman, for your time and for your work with USAID in service of the people of Kenya.