Members of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), in coordination with the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), delivered approximately $9,400 worth of hospital beds to the Djibouti Ministry of Health during a ceremony at the Bouffard Hospital in Djibouti City, Djibouti, June 25.
At the request of the Djiboutian government and the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti, CJTF-HOA was able to purchase the supplies through Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid Appropriation (OHDACA) funds to assist the country during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Thursday’s ceremony was the latest of several COVID-related aid donations to the Government of Djibouti overseen by CJTF-HOA’s 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion (CA BN). The unit previously assisted with a June 10 delivery of 500 hygiene kits purchased with OHDACA funds and valued at $15,000 and later provided similar kits to a number of ministries. This latest delivery included the first 60 of 95 beds to be delivered.
Dr. Saleh Banoita Tourab, Executive Secretary of the Djibouti Ministry of Health, expressed his gratitude to the United States for the donations, which will be distributed among medical facilities throughout Djibouti.
“One recognizes one’s friends in times of extreme need, and that is the meaning of this generous donation you have just made to us,” Tourab said during the June 10 ceremony. “Let us renew our sincere thanks and know we remain convinced that the cooperation and friendship between the Republic of Djibouti and the United States of America is getting stronger.”
Larry E. André, U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti, said, “The United States appreciates Djibouti and its support for our presence at Camp Lemonnier. As an expression of that appreciation and in the spirit of the strong and enduring relationship between the United States and the Republic of Djibouti, these medical supplies underscore that we are together battling the global pandemic. The United States recognizes the extraordinary efforts being made by the Government of Djibouti to prevent and slow the spread of the virus and is pleased to assist in that effort.”
The process for CJTF-HOA’s being able to provide the medical supplies to Djibouti began in early April, when the Djibouti Ministry of Health formally requested aid from the U.S. Embassy, which forwarded the request to CJTF-HOA.
"For me, the health and wellbeing of people is more important than just about anything else, not just of U.S. forces, but also the citizens of our Host Nation," said Maj. Gen. Lapthe Flora, CJTF-HOA commanding general. "The support we are providing to our Djiboutian partners in their outstanding efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to provide care to those affected by the virus is a reflection of the enduring relationship enjoyed by the United States and the Republic of Djibouti."
Once the OHDACA funds were approved through AFRICOM, the CJTF-HOA Contingency Contracting Office (CCO) was able to source the requested assistance items, according to U.S. Army Capt. James Hedman, CCO contracting officer.
“After we searched the market and found a supplier that fit both our standards and Djibouti’s needs, we were able to award some contracts,” he said. “After awarding the contract, there was a little bit of admin work on our side, including paying the vendor and letting Civil Affairs know when the materials were scheduled to arrive in country, but that was about it. I am grateful to have been able to provide support for the local economy and patients.”
Once the items arrived at the Port of Djibouti, the responsibility for coordinating delivery and setting up the transfer ceremony fell to the Civil Affairs Battalion, according to U.S. Army Capt. Dawn Carter, 443rd CA BN team chief.
“Our civil affairs team has traveled all over Djibouti, and the Djiboutian people are always so welcoming, thoughtful and approachable,” she said. “They will stop to help you, even if they are in need of assistance themselves. These supplies are a way that we can give back to those who have received us so warmly and helped us on our journeys around Djibouti.”