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Jamaica’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been boosted by a donation of medical equipment from the Federal Republic of Germany, valued at more than $43 million.

This was made possible through a collaboration involving the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

About half a million non-sterile surgical masks are being delivered to healthcare workers islandwide, along with 300 long-range vaccine carriers, two ultra-low temperature vaccine freezers, and two vital sign monitors to establish observation areas at vaccination sites.

Other items included laptops, printers and promotional materials to support the COVID-19 communication and vaccination efforts.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, held on January 18 at the National Health Fund (NHF) facility on Marcus Garvey Drive in St. Andrew, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said the gifts will play important roles in the country’s mitigation efforts against the virus.

“They are going to play a critical role in our healthcare response, primarily for COVID, but I am sure that it will play additional roles, hopefully, not too long from now when we neutralise COVID,” the Minister said.

He said that the items display the friendship that countries must have to combat what is a “global threat”.

“I am sure that they will save some lives, and will contribute to the response, and we look forward to continuing the partnership to respond to this threat,” Dr. Tufton said.

Chargé d’Affaires at the German Embassy in Jamaica, Frank Bernhardt, said the donation is “proof of our ongoing friendship and trust. I know that it will make a difference and help in overcoming the fourth wave, and, hopefully, no more of them (COVID-19 waves),” he said.

For his part, PAHO Representative in Jamaica, Ian Stein, said the organisation is pleased to continue international partnerships to support the Ministry’s response to the pandemic.

“As we work towards containment of the fourth wave of the pandemic through bolstering support to countries, territories, and areas in the Region of the Americas, PAHO remains an international partner that prioritises current health challenges and those that are projected to result from the individual, community and national realities,” he said.

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