Africa Defense Forum
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Benin’s Army Training Hospital Gets Protective Equipment

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The United States recently distributed $75,000 in personal protective equipment (PPE) to help health care workers at Benin’s Army Training Hospital in Cotonou battle COVID-19. The donation included hand-washing devices, hand sanitizer, latex gloves, disposable hooded jumpsuits and sterile gowns.

As U.S. Ambassador Patricia Mahoney delivered the PPE, she commended the Beninese government’s handling of the pandemic and said the U.S. will continue supporting the West African country of 11.5 million people.

Mahoney said the U.S. has donated $20.5 billion globally to help contain the pandemic.

“This incredible effort, made possible by the generosity of U.S. taxpayers, includes funding for vaccines, treatments and diagnostics, initiatives to increase preparedness, and funding for foreign assistance activities,” Mahoney said.

Alain Fortunet Nouatin, Benin’s national defense minister, said the recent donation will help reduce health risks faced by military health care workers.

“The U.S. Embassy is our key partner, and they responded favorably to our request,” Nouatin said.

In July, the U.S. delivered $60,000 in equipment and supplies to help Benin establish two diagnostic laboratories in Kandi and Lokossa to help control COVID-19 infections and increase health screenings.

The U.S. earmarked $4.5 million in May to help Benin identify areas needing investment to manage the crisis. The money was used to educate people in rural areas about the virus, strengthen surveillance and improve response efforts to quickly identify cases.
U.S. funds also help Beninese entrepreneurs contribute to the country’s COVID-19 fight by manufacturing face masks and producing affordable, pedal-operated hand-washing stations. Made of metal and recycled plastic jugs, the hand-washing stations are for use in public areas.
The money helps entrepreneurs build, market, sell and install items such as toilets and latrine parts.

“When COVID-19 arrived, I took the initiative to produce hand-washing stations that I showcased at my house,” said Igor Baimey, an entrepreneur in Akpro-Missérété. “Now I easily sell at least 15 hand-washing stations a week.”

Benin’s confirmed number of COVID-19 cases and deaths is relatively low compared to neighboring Nigeria and nearby Ghana, according to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The country experienced a downturn in new cases after a mid-July spike, but confirmed infections surged again in mid-October.

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