November 15, 2020
As-salamu alaykum. Good day.
I would like to thank the Honorable Minister, our Government of Bangladesh partners, our heroic health care workers and members of the media for joining us today.
Our hearts and thoughts are with everyone, everywhere, mostly directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We remember and honor those we have lost, wish well those who are ill, and send our best wishes to their families and loved ones.
Everywhere. This global pandemic teaches us anew how truly interdependent we are on this vulnerable planet we are privileged to share.
We salute the heroic frontline healthcare providers who risk their health to protect ours. In Bangladesh. In the United States. Everywhere.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses an unprecedented global health threat. But, Bangladesh and the United States, and nations around the world, are working hard together to combat this pandemic. It is through partnership and cooperation that we will best be able to ensure a healthy future for our people.
The U.S. government was one of the first countries to mobilize funds to support Bangladesh’s COVID-19 response efforts contributing over $68 million to date, including nearly $38 million from USAID.
For the past five decades, the U.S. government has worked alongside the Government of Bangladesh to help strengthen Bangladesh’s health systems and reduce maternal and child mortality, tuberculosis infections, and infectious disease transmission.
Since the COVID outbreak, USAID and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been actively engaged with Government of Bangladesh health officials. We are working with hospitals and health facilities around the country to strengthen Bangladesh’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak.
As part of the U.S. government’s efforts to help the global community combat the novel coronavirus, we have provided state-of-the-art U.S. manufactured ventilators to select countries around the world, including Bangladesh.
In this spirit of cooperation our countries and through the generosity of the American people, I am pleased to hand over 100 ventilators to the Government of Bangladesh. The delivery demonstrates the ongoing commitment of the United States to supporting the people of Bangladesh through this crisis.
COVID-19 can make it difficult for some patients to breathe without assistance. These U.S. manufactured ventilators represent the best of cutting-edge technology from the United States. They are compact, deployable, and will provide Bangladeshi medical professionals with flexibility in treating patients affected by the virus. For patients struggling to breathe, this vital resource may prove lifesaving.
We have tremendous respect for the hard work and the sacrifice of frontline workers of all sectors – especially for the health workers. We must do all we can to support them so they can deliver quality care and continue saving lives.
Recently, I heard the story of Dr. Jebunnesa Mahmud, a frontline physician treating COVID-19 patients at Kurmitola General Hospital. She is one of more than 20,000 healthcare workers nationwide who received COVID-19 infection prevention and control training through USAID. She told us she feels more confident now in protecting herself and her patients from cross infection. These ventilators will enable Dr. Mahmud and other courageous and dedicated health providers in Bangladesh deliver even better lifesaving care.
I would like to thank my colleagues at USAID and the Government of Bangladesh for facilitating the delivery and placement of this life-saving medical equipment.
U.S.-Bangladesh cooperation to prevent, detect, and respond to disease outbreaks has support at the highest levels of both our governments.
During a recent high-level consultation between our governments, we agreed to develop a Vision for Advancing the U.S.-Bangladesh Economic Partnership. This donation today is a health deliverable that complements the goal of that high-level consultation.
America’s commitment to Bangladesh has never been stronger. And our commitment to each other has never been more important.
Thank you. Dhonnobad.