The 86th Airlift Wing delivered medical supplies to the government of Ghana April 24, 2020, to help support the country’s COVID-19 response efforts. Approximately 4,000 pounds of medical cargo and supplies provided by the Naval Medical Research Unit Three-Ghana Detachment were stuck in Manchester, U.K., due to logistical disruptions caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
As confirmed cases of the disease gradually made their way to West Africa and eventually Ghana, the laboratory supplies became even more critical during this rapidly evolving crisis. With logistical challenges accompanying the spread of the disease, they would have remained stranded in Manchester, U.K., until sometime in May.
The U.S. Embassy in Accra, Ghana, requested support from U.S. Africa Command to deliver three pallets of equipment to Ghana. Together they developed a plan to transport the supplies from RAF Mildenhall, U.K., to Ramstein Air Base, Germany. From Germany, the supplies were then delivered to Accra, Ghana, after a brief stop in Niamey, Niger.
It took a joint team of Airmen, Sailors, DoD Civilians, local national employees and contractors from U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, AFRICOM and Air Mobility Command units to transport the cargo 3,400 miles using C-5 Galaxy, C-17 Globemaster and C-130J Super Hercules aircraft.
“A mission like this is why we’re here. We are the gateway to the world,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark August, 86th Airlift Wing commander. “When a big gray aircraft shows up with an American flag on the tail, that sends a message of hope, and our Airmen are proud to support our partners as we fight this invisible enemy together.”
The medical supplies included ribonucleic acid(RNA), nucleic acid extraction kits, reagents, viral collection swabs, universal and viral transport media to collect and store specimens, and the replenishment of other consumable lab supplies.
The arrival of the needed medical supplies underscores the results of the growing partnership between the United States of America and the Republic of Ghana to combat COVID-19, to save lives and protect the people of Ghana.