While American hospitals scramble to find enough personal protective equipment (PPE), the USAID department – which gives away over $20 billion year – just gifted a substantial amount of equipment to the nation of Kazakhstan. Then bragged about it.
Despite President Trump’s America First ideology, the bureaucrats at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said on March 17th:
Today, the United States through its Agency for International Development (USAID) handed over personal protective equipment (PPE) to the City Center for Ambulance Services in Nur-Sultan. This equipment is part of the United States government’s early assistance to Kazakhstan to prepare for the potential spread of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19. In addition to the PPE, USAID has also allocated additional funding to support Kazakhstan’s response to COVID-19.
The PPE provided by USAID includes 10,000 examination gloves, 10,000 masks, 1,400 isolation gowns, and 200 protective goggles. This equipment will subsequently be distributed to healthcare workers in regional centers and cities across Kazakhstan. It will protect and enable health workers in Kazakhstan to respond quickly and safely to treat COVID-19 patients. The donated PPE is vital to reduce the infection risk facing frontline health workers.
“Today, an infectious-disease threat anywhere in the world can easily cross borders and create health hazards across the globe, that is why cooperation on the international level and mutual support are crucial in such critical times,” said U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan, William Moser.
Amb. Moser is a career diplomat, and not a Trump political appointee.
“We are proud to support the Government of Kazakhstan’s efforts by providing personal protective equipment and Emergency Reserve Fund financing to stop the spread of COVID-19 to ensure people are safe and healthy,” Moser added.
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Meanwhile, hospitals across the United States and in allied nations are begging for PPE.
“Physicians and the rest of the health care team cannot be thrown into battle poorly equipped. We cannot safely test, examine, or treat our patients without protective masks, gowns, gloves, and other equipment,” David Fleeger, the president of the Texas Medical Association, said in a written statement published by the Texas Tribune.
Meanwhile in New Hampshire: “We want to collect what we can and make sure the whole health care and first responder community of Portsmouth is going to get what they need,” said Fire Chief Todd Germain, during a PPE donation drive.
Earlier this week the Food and Drug Administration announced there was a need to engage “with importers and others involved in the import trade community during this pandemic to facilitate the entry of needed products, including PPE, into the U.S.”
On March 26th – just over one week after the U.S. transfer – the government of Kazakhstan began handing out 5 masks per person to the general public.
Their website states, via Google Translate:
The Youth Policy Directorate of the #Birgemiz movement held a social campaign to distribute medical masks… Volunteers distributed the necessary means of protection against various viruses to residents of the capital for free – 5 pieces per person.
The free masks are said to be made domestically in Kazakhstan:
In total, 30,000 medical masks will be distributed to residents of the capital… they can be obtained at retail stores, as well as in shopping centers and various supermarkets.
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With the desperate need for equipment across U.S. hospitals, and a price premium to boot, members of the public will surely be asking why USAID is sending so many abroad.