On June 4, the U.S. Embassy in Nassau delivered $20,000 worth of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machines to The Bahamas. These CPAP and BiPAP machines, provided by the Rhode Island National Guard (RING) State Partnership Program (SPP), can be converted to ventilators for use as treatment for patients suffering from respiratory distress due to illnesses such as COVID-19. RING SPP included the conversion kits needed to turn the CPAP and BiPAP machines into ventilators as part of their donation.
Defense Attaché Commander Kevin Self delivered the equipment to Prime Minister and Acting Minister of Health Dr. Hubert Minnis, along with Permanent Secretary Prenell King-Rolle, at the Churchill building in downtown Nassau.
The RING SPP is a unique Department of Defense security cooperation agreement that pairs the National Guard of a U.S. state or territory with a partner country’s military, security forces, or government agencies responsible for emergency and disaster response. This donation of CPAP and BiPAP machines was made possible through the assistance and generous donations from the University of Rhode Island, and will provide immediate medical assistance to those suffering from COVID-19.
CPAP and BiPAP machines are routinely used at home and in hospitals to treat patients with sleep apnea. Combined with oxygen therapy hoods to support ventilation in patients and with proper circuit configuration, the machines decrease the aerosolization of the virus, and have been used to treat patients with adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in the United States and in Italy during the COVID-19 crisis.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the U.S. government has committed more than $900 million in State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) emergency health, humanitarian, economic, and development assistance specifically aimed at helping governments, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) fight the pandemic. The U.S. government also committed an additional $750,000 on May 20 to assist The Bahamas with increasing risk communication and community engagement, infection prevention and control, surveillance and rapid response, and strengthening case management.